The widespread use of the World Wide Web has revolutionised the way in which people find information. Locating information is now easier than ever before but the fact that so much material, of such varying calibre, is now available has brought its own problems. There are no quality thresholds that must be met by information on the Web, and young people need to develop an array of skills if they are to test the soundness of what they find with a view to accepting or rejecting it. Although the minibook concentrates largely on the use of the Internet for academic purposes in schools, many of the principles are applicable in a wide range of contexts, including situations where young people seek information for personal interest and exploit paper sources.
The minibook consists of two sections. The first takes a theoretical perspective; it explores the nature of information evaluation and considers why so often young people do not appraise the material they encounter. The second part is more practical; it presents a teaching programme that can be followed in schools, provides a case study demonstrating a ‘textbook’ instance of how information may be appraised and offers a model for use in teaching the necessary skills. The minibook will be welcomed by anyone who appreciates the need for pupils to make prudent selection decisions when they interact with information and will undoubtedly help young people acquire skills which are integral to effective lifelong learning.