Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

The interweb said what?! August 18, 2013

ETL501 Module 3: Critical evaluation of print and e-resources

‘…TLs will be evaluating websites which, as far as possible, match the learning needs of their students – and obviously, these needs will be different for students in Year 7 or Year 12. Website evaluation, therefore, starts with student needs, and not with websites.”

Barbara Coombes, (2013) module 3


Surely this area is one of the most important jobs we have as TLs – getting the right info to the right kids at the right time.

How best to ensure the quality of the e-resources we guide them towards? Run all e-resources through criteria based on three key areas:

  • educational quality/relevancy,
  • reliability
  • technical aspects

The following questions can help crystalize the criteria:

  • Does the site meet the TL’s or teacher’s purpose?
  • What is the range of reading levels of the student group for whom the website is being considered?
  • Does the site contain activities for students?
  • Does the site allow for differentiation?
  • Will the site extend the learning of the student group?

Useful links – provides very comprehensive criteria to evaluate websites. Not kid friendly but good for TL/teacher use in planning stages. – very comprehensive “think abouts” for website evaluation for teachers/TLs, not helpful for kids.


Readings for website evaluation

Barcalow, T. (2003). CARS: Evaluating websites.

Ferguson, J. (2005). Why evaluate information found on the Web?

Harris, R. (2010). Evaluating Internet research resources.

Johnson, D. and Lamb, A. (2007). Evaluating internet resources

McGraw-Hill. (2001). How to judge the reliability of Internet information.

Porter, J. (2003). Testing the three click rule

Rogers, T. (2013). Eight ways to tell if a website is reliable. 

Schrock, K. (1996 – 2009). Critical evaluation surveys

Schrock, K. (2009). The 5 Ws of website evaluation: For students


Collection management vs collection development March 8, 2011

Examine and consider the definitions provided for the terms ‘selection’, ‘acquisition’, ‘deselection’ (for ‘weeding’) and ‘collection evaluation’ in the glossary of terms provided in your Kennedy text (pp.159-165).

Selection: understanding the curriculum and needs of the learners and teachers involved.

  • What resources do we already have?
  • What gaps are there in our collection – for learners, for teachers?
  • What makes resource A better than resource B?
  • Who is this new resource for?
  • How does this new resource best meet the needs of multiple stake holders?
  • Are we buying updated copies of resources already within our collection? If so, why?
  • How do we know we need to buy certain resources?

Acquisition: how we buy the resources we need.

  • What network have we created within which we can purchase our resources?
  • How does the value of the currency we are buying with impact our purchasing?
  • How do we know the publisher/supplier is reliable and honest?
  • Who is responsible for purchasing and/or supplying each resource?

Deselection: removal of resources no longer needed or deemed appropriate for the collection

  • Who decides which resources are no longer needed?
  • What criteria have been put into place to judge a resource against?
  • Where do the deselected materials go once they have been taken off the catalogue – is there a place for them in another library somewhere else or must they be thrown in the rubbish?
  • What is the process each resource must go through when deselected?

Collection evaluation: deciding if the entire collection is meeting the needs and wants of the community it serves

  • How do we know the collection is meeting the needs and wants of our community?
  • What criteria have been put into place to judge our collection?
  • Who are the stakeholders in deciding a collection’s worth?
Examine and consider the definition provided for the term ‘collection development policy’ (for collection policy) in the glossary of terms provided in your Kennedy text (p. 160).

My school’s collection development policy is actually called a selection policy and is divided into the following components:

  • Philosophy
  • Selection Objectives
  • Responsibility for Selection
  • Selection Criteria
  • Gifts
  • Policies on Controversial Materials
  • Request for Consideration of Materials

Our development policy does not state numbers of resources in any one category nor does it state information pertaining to the management of the resources once they are selected. It is simply a guide provided to any interested parties on how our school decides if a resource is appropriate for our learning environment.

Find at least one other definition of collection management or collection development, preferably relating to school libraries, or a statement relating to resourcing the curriculum, and compare it with the definitions provided here. In particular see if you can find a definition used by your educational authority or an educational authority with which you are familiar. What are the key elements of that definition?

“Collection development is the process of developing and maintaining a range of resources that will meet the information needs of the library’s users. When it comes to the school library, the collection must reflect a balance between supporting the teaching and learning in the school and providing resources to meet individual needs and interests. Selection of materials however, should not be limited just to information needs, but should include resources that will challenge and inspire students and staff alike.” Tasmanian Education Department website (thank you and kudos go to Suzanne van der Veer, fellow 503 student for pointing me to this definition – I was thoroughly stuck for a suitable definition, even after searching EBSCO)

Firstly, I was surprised in my research by how often the term collection development was still being used by many professionals. I really liked Kennedy’s take on how development is subsumed and is part of the umbrella term of ‘management’. Having said that, I believe the Tas Ed Dept definition is the same at its core. I especially love the reference to challenge and inspire as that mirrors my schools mission statement: “connect, challenge, inspire: make a difference”.


loving the learning

continuing tales of a teacher librarian

PE to TL - The Journey Begins!

Reflections and thoughts on ETL401.


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