LII Selection Criteria

This is an historical archive of the Librarians' Internet Index (LII) before it merged with the IPL to become the ipl2.

About LII | Overview | History | Stats and Kudos | Selection Criteria | Tech Specs | LII & IPL Merger
  1. Scope of the Collection

    1. The LII Mission Statement: The mission of Librarians' Internet Index is to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected websites, serving California, the nation, and the world.
    2. In general, LII seeks for, enters, and maintains item records for websites that reflect:

      1. Unique, important content across the full scope of information
        1. Institutional sites that provide little or no actual content beyond contact information for the organization will only be included in LII when they meet a strong informational need for a large number of our users.
        2. Commercial sites will only be included when they offer important, freely-accessible information not duplicated by other LII resources of equal or higher quality.
        3. LII only collects sites with a major English-language component. Sites largely or exclusively in languages other than English are beyond the scope of our resources.
        4. LII does not collect individual schools or libraries unless the sites for these organizations has significant freely-available content, such as exhibits, bibliographies, or directories of useful resources.
      2. Contrasting viewpoints on major issues
      3. An awareness of current affairs and issues in the public's mind
      4. The information needs of library users and librarians
      5. The information needs of underserved groups
      6. Content pertinent to California and to organizations we have formally partnered with

    3. LII selection criteria is not age-specific. However, we do not collect intensively in resources targeted for children. Some of our items may point to resources intended for mature audiences.

  2. Key Selection Criteria: The Big Five Factors

    These five factors are the "show-stoppers" for LII content. In most cases, websites that do not meet all five key criteria will not be included in (or will be removed from) the LII database. These factors also provide critical guidance for our weeding program; sites that no longer meet these criteria will in most instances be removed.

    1. Availability. A key issue is whether the information is freely available. LII does not include sites that are fee-based or sell a product unless the site also offers important informational content for free.
    2. Credibility. The site should contribute current, accurate information about the topic. The site author(s) should be qualified to present the content provided.
    3. Authorship. Content should be competently written, with few if any grammatical or spelling errors.
    4. External links. For all sites, links should lead to appropriate content. For directories--sites that primarily provide links to other sites--a strong majority of the links should be functional.
    5. Legality. The author should be legally entitled to present the content within copyright and fair use guidelines.

  3. Beyond the Big Five Factors: Evaluative Criteria

    The following criteria are more fluid and conditional than the "Big Five Factors." LII emphasizes collecting sites that reflect its motto, "Websites You Can Trust." However, as our selection criteria below suggest, we will consider including sites that may have "quality" issues, yet present unique and important information. Context is everything.

    These criteria should be used to evaluate the site not only on its own merits, but also with respect to peer resources in LII. In most cases, the LII item description should note strong deviances from these areas; exceptionally high quality in any of these areas may also be noted.

    1. Authority
      1. Can an author be identified, and is there contact information?
      2. What is the author's reputation and qualifications in the subject? How important is the authority for this site?
      3. Does the author provide sources for information?
       
    2. Scope and Audience
      1. Why does the site exist? What is its purpose--to instruct, inform, amuse, or persuade? Is its purpose clearly stated or easily inferred, or does there appear to be a hidden agenda or ulterior motive to the presentation of the content?
      2. Who are the audiences for this site? Is the site appropriate for the intended audiences?
      3. How does the site compare with other sites on the same subject?
       
    3. Content
      1. How thoroughly does the site cover its content areas? For example, a site describing dachsund breeds should list all known breeds. We represent this information with a rough count: for example, a site providing recipes may have "dozens," "hundreds," or "thousands" of recipes (or it may have just one, but it's really special).
      2. If the site provides opinion, rather than facts, are these opinions clearly identifiable as such?
      3. Does the point of view help balance the LII collection?
      4. Does the site provide illustrations you would expect to find? (For example, a resource describing knot-tying would be expected to have illustrations of knots in various stages of execution.)

    4. Design
      1. Is the site well-organized and easy to navigate?
      2. Does the site display well in popular browsers? Do all features work in current versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer?
      3. Is the site complex or simple in design? Is the level of complexity appropriate for its audience?
      4. Is it searchable or browsable? Is the search box or browsing hierarchy easy to find? Does the user have to read instructions to search or browse successfully?
      5. Is the site consistently available? If you visit it over several days, can you always retrieve it? If not, does it offer an explanation?
      6. Is the site visually appealing, particularly for its target audience?

    5. Function
      1. Do key features work? Do search engines function?
      2. How fast does the site load? If it is bandwidth-intensive, is this justified by special features, such as high "teen appeal" or elaborately detailed scientific images?
      3. Does the site display error messages?
      4. If the site includes video and audio files, is it clear what plug-ins are required to make them work? Can you play the files?
      5. Are there pop-up ads? How frequently do they appear? What kind of content do these ads provide (and is this content appropriate for lii.org)?
      6. Does the site requires registration in order to access information or use features? Why does the site require registration? How much information is available anonymously? How much personal information is required to register?

    6. Shelf Life
      1. Is the site established for a temporary event or activity?
      2. Is the site a "personal" page (often indicated with a tilde before the directory name, as in www.myfunpage.com/~bobsmith)?
      3. Is it a student or class project?

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