Finding quality information on the Internet

Gateways to the Internet: finding quality information on the Internet

Adrienne Franco


Librarians have long sought to select, evaluate, and organize information on the Internet. Efforts began with individual librarians sharing bookmark files of favorite sites and progressed to increasingly large, collaboratively produced general and subject/discipline-specific gateway Web sites or megasites. Megasites list major resources usually in a particular subject area or discipline. Library portals that review, evaluate, and sometimes rate and rank resources grew from some of these Web sites. Both megasites and portals serve as gateways to the Internet. Many portals have developed from relatively small static files into large, dynamically generated databases providing descriptive annotations of selected resources and are increasingly overseen as global projects with formal policies and procedures. Portals now provide increasingly complex and sophisticated browse and search capabilities with a multitude of access points, often including call numbers and subject headings. These are described and compared. Future trends such as increased collaboration among portals; automated location, selection, and cataloging of resources; integration of multiple resource types; and increased access to full-content and virtual library services are also discussed.


Librarians have long been involved in efforts to select, organize, describe, and evaluate Internet resources. Librarian-produced Internet tools have much to offer that commercial search engines and other tools lack:

While these search engines [Yahoo and Alta Vista] and others like

them have strengths, their weaknesses are well known: a high

percentage of nonauthoritative content mixed with quality content

that, when indexed together, makes locating relevant information

serendipitous at best. (Wells et al., 1999, p. 347)

Early on, individual librarians compiled bookmark files that listed favorite sites. These lists often reflected institutional priorities and usually had a limited geographical focus as well. In fact, the well-respected Librarian’s Index to the Internet began as then Berkeley Public Library librarian Carole Leita’s gopher bookmark file (Buchwald, 2002, p. 38). As the Internet grew in size and audience and became more accessible, librarians worked collaboratively to create and maintain resource sites and megasites. These might be multidisciplinary, as in selections of general reference resources, or subject or discipline specific. Initially, following print models of bibliographic control, these guides were essentially Web bibliographies or “Webliographies.” Megasites (sometimes called “metasites”) are larger and more comprehensive. Webliographies and megasites became increasingly sophisticated, providing descriptive annotations. Portals are larger still and often evaluate and sometimes rate megasites and other Internet resources.

The LITA Internet Portals Interest Group

defines a portal as a service (and related systems and approaches

to organization) that facilitates organized knowledge discovery

via information accessible through the Internet. (American Library

Association. Library and Information Technology Association, n.d.)

Portals are now often supported as independent projects and are frequently underwritten financially through state, local, or national governments or private philanthropic funding (cf., for example, Ansdell, 2000; Buchwald, 2002, p. 38; Wells et al., 1999, p. 347).

As portals became more established and grew larger, librarians took advantage of software advances to convert them into databases that are browsable and searchable by multiple access points, frequently including call numbers and subject headings.


This article will focus primarily on librarian-produced portals or portals with a high level of librarian participation. Sites described and discussed are freely available on the Web. These portals will be described and compared. Excluded or de-emphasized are sites created and maintained primarily outside the library community, print resources including books and articles, information available only in fee-based subscription databases, and search engines.


This article grew out of a presentation given on October 14, 1999, by the author and a colleague, Richard Palladino, at the 10th Annual Meeting of the International Information Management Association (IIMA) held at Iona College. An invitation to participate in this conference was extended to Iona College faculty and staff. The concept of information management seemed especially pertinent to librarians and the opportunity to present before an audience of nonlibrarians was especially intriguing and attractive. Aware of widespread concern about the quality (or lack of quality) on the World Wide Web, thoughts of librarians extending bibliographic and quality control from print to the Web came to mind, and so we decided to share this with our fellow information professionals. The Web page “Finding Quality Information on the World Wide Web” (http:// was created for presentation at the conference and has been maintained since then and most recently updated on April 4, 2002. We were the only librarians to present at this conference. Information professionals from around the world attended, and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Some took us aside and said they had been unaware of librarians’ attempt to select, organize, and evaluate Internet resources.


Finding the Newest Quality Sites

Although subject guides and megasites are included in the portals discussed in this article, newer resources may not yet be included. Methods that are described here are often also used by librarians at portal sites to find resources to be considered for review and inclusion.

Subject guides and megasites are often created under the auspices of organizations such as college and university academic departments, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, trade associations, and corporations, as well as libraries. Some are the product of special, highly structured projects while others may represent the efforts of individuals or informal groups. For example, a university biology faculty member or librarian may create a Webliography of favorite sites.

Methods used to find quality sites include:

* Mailing lists and discussion groups for resource announcements and recommendations;

* Print sources such as books and journal, magazine, or newspaper articles;

* Search engines, using carefully constructed search queries. Such queries may include terms that describe a discipline or broad subject area as well as words such as “resources,” “megasites,” “Webliography,” “Internet,” etc. For example:

biology + megasites

biology + “internet resources”

biology + “information resources”

biology + webliography (or, biology + bibliography)

It may be helpful to limit searches to the titles of Web pages only and possibly to domains such as .edu, .gov, or .org to retrieve megasites produced by academic institutions, libraries, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies. One can exclude domains if desired as well, e.g. exclude “.com.” Of course, you will have to screen search results yourself.

* Other strategies for locating megasites include the following:

** Determine which academic institutions have degree programs in a particular field or discipline. (To help you identify which institutions have programs in a particular field, consult print or electronic directories, e.g., College Blue Book or Peterson’s college guides);

** Once you’ve identified an appropriate institution, try using the url: “” (for U.S. universities), or use a Web directory such as: American Universities (;

** Look for appropriate academic department page(s) as well as library page (s);

** Look for Web documents that may include such tide words/terms as “Links,” “Resources,” “Web Sites,” etc.


Eventually, quality megasites will be accessible through portals such as the Librarian’s Index to the Internet and Infomine. Specific portals that are described and compared in this article include Librarians’ Index to the Internet, Infomine, Internet Public Library, MEL (Michigan Electronic Library), BUBL Link 5:15, Internet Scout Project, and Academic Info. These are described and compared in Tables 1-7.

Comparing the data in these tables, we see commonalities but also significant differences. For example, most provide at least basic keyword search capabilities and at least minimal annotations. Most also began in the early to mid-1990s and provide selected sites, though criteria are not always explicitly stated on their Web sites.

Differences among them, however, are significant, so users are advised to not limit their searches for quality resources to a single portal. Examples of major differences include: primary audience, level of detail in records, number of access points, presence or absence of controlled vocabulary and classification system numbers, degree of searchability and browsability, and comprehensiveness of annotations.

For example, primary audiences range from public library users (Librarians’ Index to the Internet) to academics (Infomine and Academic Info) and all the Internet community (Internet Public Library, MEL).

Some are stand-alone portals (e.g., Librarians’ Index to the Internet) while others are part of larger virtual libraries (e.g., Internet Public Library). It appears that the stand-alone portals are more likely to provide in-depth records, multiple access points, and more sophisticated search options than those that are only part of a virtual library. This is true, for example, when one compares Librarians’ Index to the Internet to the Internet Public Library.


It is well documented that search engines cover only a small fraction of resources available on the Web (cf. Lawrence & Giles, n.d.). Portals cover even a smaller percentage of resources. Internet users are less aware of the portals discussed in this article and if they are aware may use them less frequently than search engines because they retrieve fewer records with each search. It is easy to confuse volume with quality of search results. The portals can offer quality that search engines, even those that increasingly use “intelligent” search algorithms, are less able to provide. Still, portal leadership has recognized the need to cover more resources. This has resulted in many trends and developments that are both current and developing. These current and developing trends are discussed below.


Creation and development of sophisticated software has allowed portal sites to automate almost every aspect of their sites from collection development to record creation, search, and retrieval of information. For example, Infomine uses crawlers to find, evaluate, and select resources for inclusion. Half of their database consists of resources that are machine-selected. Other tasks increasingly automated include record creation, indexing, and even brief descriptive annotations. Automation has played a major role in virtually all of the trends that follow.


Portals such as Infomine and Librarians’ Index to the Internet have been rapidly increasing the number of resources included. Consistent with increased diversity of Internet resources, portals now cover not only HTML but other file types as well, including PDF, images, and multimedia. Half of Infomine’s 40,000 records are machine generated, with the other half created by librarian experts.

Static Files to Databases

As content has increased, most portals have converted from static files to databases with multiple access points and sophisticated searching capabilities to facilitate searching and retrieval of records.


Portals have developed into highly organized and structured projects increasingly supported by government and philanthropic agencies. Many have become independent organizations financed separately from any particular library. They now consist of paid staff as well as volunteers from not one but multiple libraries. Policies and procedures have become increasingly detailed and complex.

Collection Development Policies and Criteria

Portals have created, developed, and refined specific collection development policies and selection criteria. This information may be available on their sites. Site selectors and reviewers often have access to additional and even more detailed guidelines and criteria.


Site Design, Record Content, Indexing, and Abstracting

Overall design of portal sites is becoming more uniform. Initial screens usually display top hierarchical subjects and a search box. Simple and advanced search screens are available in most portals. Increasingly, they resemble the interfaces of subscription databases.

Indexable Fields

Standardization of indexable fields in database records will allow portals to exchange information more freely and, if Z39.50 compliant, to facilitate searches across multiple portals. Standardization is important whether existing portals merge to form a single large database resource or whether they continue to exist separately.


Enhanced Record Content with Multiple Access Points

Increasingly, database records include distinct fields that provide multiple access points including personal or corporate author, title, description, subject headings, and in some cases even classification numbers (usually Dewey or LC).

Sophisticated Search Features

Most portals now offer sophisticated browse and search capabilities. Increasingly, complex searches are available utilizing Boolean operators, phrase searching, truncation, and more. Previously, such features were found primarily in subscription databases.


Features now commonly available–including e-mail alerts, comment and feedback buttons, and forms to suggest resources for inclusion–allow users to both contribute to and provide feedback to portals.


Recruitment of Libraries and Librarian Contributors

Some portal sites, such as Infomine, are actively recruiting libraries and librarians to contribute records. This is an extension of interactivity, noted earlier.


Many library groups and professional associations including the Library of Congress, Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association’s LITA Internet Portals Interest Group, and “Libraries of Organized Online Knowledge” (or LOOK, formerly FIAT LUX) are actively involved in encouraging and sponsoring research and planning for future portal development (cf. Library of Congress, 2003; American Library Association Library and Information Technology Association, n.d.; Association of Research Libraries 2003; Infomine, n.d.).

Mary E. Jackson, ARL Senior Program Office for Access Services, describes an intriguing vision of a “dream portal”:

Imagine one web site that can combine the powerful searching of web

resources with the searching of local catalogs, online journals, or

locally digitized resources. Add to this the ability to initiate a

reference question, submit an interlibrary loan (ILL) request, and

transfer into course management systems a citation or portion of a

journal article, all without leaving that web site. (Jackson, 2002)

Jackson also shares the vision of Sarah Michalak, director of the University of Utah Libraries and a member of the ARL Scholars Portal Working Group, of a dream portal as

a super discovery tool that specializes in high-quality content. The

dream portal is fast and powerful. It searches across formats and

resources and returns results that are deduped and relevancy ranked.

It is more than a discovery tool because it delivers full text or

information objects whenever available. The dream portal integrates

appropriate applications such as course management software.

Finally, the dream portal supports authentication and permits

customization and personalization, e.g., alerts, saved hits or

searches, and custom views of resources. (Jackson, 2002)

Key elements in these visions include a single point of access to high quality resources and databases (something commercial search engines and portals are less equipped to offer), integration of information in multiple formats, integration with other portals and software, interactivity including access to library services such as reference and interlibrary loan, provision of full-text whenever possible, and customization by users.

Towards these ends ARL, LC, LITA/IPIG, and other groups are developing or promoting “best practices,” standards, cooperative projects, and sophisticated software to aid libraries and library groups in creating their own portals. They have met at ALA conferences and hope to chart the future course of librarian-created portals. Additional trends are noted and discussed below.

Content Access to Content Production

Initially, portals sought to index resources available externally. Many portals now either produce their own content or make content available on site. These include Internet Public Library and MEL. In the case of MEL, it provides significant amounts of copyrighted materials available only to Michigan constituents and so now are also, in a sense, subscription databases. Some, like IPL, MEL, and BUBL are now virtual libraries in addition to portals. This trend will continue.

Single Portal or Multiple Portals

Mason (2000) outlines several possible future directions for portals. Choices that are yet to be made include whether or not portals will merge into a single resource or whether they will continue existing separately with increased cooperation and even interconnectivity. However, efforts by ARL, LC, and LITA definitely point not only to continuation of interconnected multiple portals but even to creation of new ones.

Resource Sharing

Some portals (notably Infomine) have developed open software made available to libraries and consortia who may wish to create their own portals. LC lists vendors of portal software on its Web site (Library of Congress, 2003). Some, like MEL, are considering making broad-based non-Michigan oriented Content available to regional MELs, which would then provide their own local content.

Full-Text Capture

In an article about Librarians’ Index to the Internet, Buchwald (2002) talks about LII and by implication other portals being able to “have some type of crawler like a regular search engine … [which] would need to capture the text of the selected homepage, and any meta tags and other keywords to build a useful fulltext index.” These may include invisible information added to Web pages using “the Dublin Core, a means of building catalogue information into Web pages by using metatags, labels which exist in the unseen ‘head’ area of every online page” (Ansdell, 2000). Buchwald (2002) points out this may be more difficult, “since more and more, university, library, and newspaper sites are having areas of their sites blocked off from search engines’ robots and crawlers.” If such information could be captured, it would allow for more precise indexing, searching, and retrieval of Internet resources.

Broad vs. Highly Selective Resource Coverage

Infomine is seeking more comprehensive coverage of resources while BUBL:Link focuses more on including fewer yet highly selective resources (Dawson, 1997, p.18).


In less than a decade, librarian-created portals have changed dramatically in terms of growth, content, accessibility, interactivity, and organization. Many serve as virtual libraries, in some cases providing copyrighted content like subscription databases to specific clientele/constituents. Some have focused on substantially increasing resource coverage to compete more with commercial directories and search engines while others are less focused on growth and more on highly relevant resources.

Major issues include:

* Single, cooperatively produced and maintained portal vs. multiple portals increasing their interconnectivity and standardizing their content;

* Dramatic increase in the number of resources vs. a limited number of resources but of high quality;

* Development and sharing of sophisticated software to find, select, evaluate, index, and describe Web content as well as to provide bibliographic control within portals (cf. Schneider 2002a);

* Cooperative efforts to fund portal development (cf. Schneider 2002a);

* Increased efforts to globalize content.

As Schneider (2002a) aptly states: “We aren’t going to blow the commercial portals out of the water. But we can be to the Internet what public radio and television are for these other media: a single place for local and global content that our public can trust.”

Table 1.

Name of Web Rating and Librarians Index to the Internet

Evaluation Site:

Site URL:

Mission Statement, “The mission of Librarians’ Index to

Description, Audience: the Internet is to provide a

well-organized point of access for

reliable, trustworthy,

librarian-selected Internet

resources, serving California, the

nation, and the world.”

Year Founded: 1990

Origins/History: Began as librarian Carol Leila’s

gopher bookmark file

Approximate Number Over 10,000 as of end of 2002

of Records:

Selection Criteria: Detailed criteria described at:

pubcriteria. Free sites or sites

that offer significant free content

only are included. Evaluation

criteria include authority, scope

and audience, content, design,

function, and shelf life.

Annotations? YES

Sites Rated? (e.g., with NO

graphics such as stars)

Browsable? By hierarchical terms, general to

specific. By LC subject headings

from advanced search screen.

Searchable? YES, with fully-functional search


Classification System Used? NO

Subject Headings/Controlled LCSH


E-Mail Announcements/ YES

Alerts for New Sites Added?

Staffing: 4 part-time staff including a

cataloger, 2 editors, and a

computer programmer plus more than

100 volunteer indexer librarians

Responsible Person(s)/ Library of California, Karen G.

Institution(s): Schneider

Funding and Support: Library of California, grants such


Hosted by: UC Berkeley SunSITE

Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: Although emphasis is on public

libraries, resources and annotations

are useful for academics as well.

Table 2.

Name of Web Rating and INFOMINE: Scholarly Internet Resource

Evaluation Site: Collections

Site URL:

Mission Statement, “INFOMINE is a virtual library of

Description, Audience: Internet resources relevant to

faculty, students, and research staff

at the university level. It contains

useful Internet resources such as

databases, electronic, journals,

electronic books, bulletin boards,

mailing lists, online library card

catalogs, articles, directories of

researchers, and many other types of

information.” Scope information

available at:


Year Founded: 1994

Origins/History: Begun by librarians at the University

of California, Riverside. Librarians

from other academic institutions now

participate as well. Infomine is now a

cooperative project.

Approximate Number Over 40,000; half selected by

of Records: librarian “experts”; the other half by

robot crawlers (Mitchell, 2003).

Selection Criteria: “University level research and

educational tools on the Internet.”

Annotations? YES

Sites Rated? (e.g., with Graphical symbols used to distinguish,

graphics such as stars) for example, librarian-selected


Browsable? From main screen by hierarchical

subject-specific database (e.g.,

Business & Economics). From advanced

search screen by LC classification


Searchable? YES

Classification System Used? YES (LC)

Subject Headings/Controlled LCSH


E-Mail Announcements/ YES

Alerts for New Sites Added?

Staffing: “Librarians from The University of

California, Wake Forest University,

California State University, The

University of Detroit–Mercy, and

other universities and colleges” (cf. Other

libraries invited to participate.

Responsible Person(s)/ Primarily University of California,

Institution(s): Riverside

Funding and Support: State, federal, and other grants

Hosted by: University of California, Riverside

Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: Now part of LOOK (Libraries of

Organized Online Knowledge, formerly

Fiat Lux), a collaborative project of

multiple portal sites.

Table 3.

Name of Web Rating and Internet Public Library

Evaluation Site:

Site URL:

Mission Statement, “The first public library of and for

Description, Audience: the Internet community” (cf.

iplfaq.html). However, audience is not

“public library” users but all members

of the Internet community as well as

librarians. Designed on a library

model, IPL provides library services

and resources such as Reference and

links to free online books and

articles. Primary focus does not seem

to be Web site evaluation

Year Founded: 1995

Origins/History: Began in winter 1995 as a project of

the School of Information and Library

Studies at the University of Michigan

Approximate Number Not found at site

of Records:

Selection Criteria: Not found at site

Annotations? YES, but seem to appear only when

browsing rather than searching. Brief

and often are quoted from the site


Sites Rated? (e.g., with NO

graphics such as stars)

Browsable? Yes, by hierarchical terms general to

specific. Browses do retrieve records

with annotations.

Searchable? Yes, but simple searches only.

Searches do not retrieve annotated

records but simply a list of links.

Classification System Used? NO

Subject Headings/Controlled NO


E-Mail Announcements/ Not found at site

Alerts for New Sites Added?

Staffing: Sue Davidsen, Managing Director, and

two other staff members. Students at

the host institution. Others invited

to collaborate.

Responsible Person(s)/ University of Michigan School of

Institution(s): Information

Funding and Support: University of Michigan School of

Information. Actively seeking other


Hosted by: University of Michigan School of


Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: Also includes original content

pathfinders and documents created for

IPL. Includes records formerly in the

Argus Clearinghouse which was

discontinued on January 23, 2002.

Table 4.

Name of Web Rating and MEL: Michigan Electronic Library Best

Evaluation Site: of the Internet Selected by Librarians

Site URL: Main url:


URL for “Best of the Internet”:

Mission Statement, “Michigan’s virtual library will link

Description, Audience: all Michigan residents to the

information they need, when they need

it, where they need it, and in the

format they desire.”

Year Founded: 1992

Origins/History: Began as GoMLink gopher service

Approximate Number Over 20,000

of Records:

Selection Criteria: Sites are selected that meet the needs

of Michigan’s libraries and citizens.

The Web site alludes to specific

selection criteria followed by their

selectors but does not include them.

“Collection Policy for the Michigan

eLibrary–Best of the Internet,”


Annotations? YES, but very brief and not for all

records. Some are quotes from linked


Sites Rated? (e.g., with NO

graphics such as stars)

Browsable? YES, by hierarchical terms general to


Searchable? YES, but simple search only. Seems to

be keyword access only. No advanced

search features (e.g., limiting).

Classification System Used? NO

Subject Headings/Controlled NO


E-Mail Announcements/ NO

Alerts for New Sites Added?

Staffing: 11 manager/selector librarians

Responsible Person(s)/ Michigan State Library


Funding and Support: Michigan State Library, LSTA “via the

Institute of Museum and Library

Services (IMLS),” and other grants

Hosted by: State of Michigan

Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: Best of the Internet is only a small

part of MEL, which is a virtual


Table 5.

Name of Web Rating and BUBL/Link 5:15, catalog of Internet

Evaluation Site: resources (part of BUBL)

Site URL:


subject interface)

Mission Statement, “Aimed towards the UK higher education

Description, Audience: academic and research community” and

librarians; “a catalogue of selected

Internet resources covering all

academic subject areas and catalogued

according to DDC.”

Year Founded: BUBL 5:15 began in March 1997.

Original BUBL began in 1990.

Origins/History: BUBL founded as BUlletin Board for

Libraries, aimed at librarians. LINK

stands for Libraries of Networked


Approximate Number Over 11,000 resources

of Records:

Selection Criteria: “Academic relevance, up-to-date

information and completeness” (cf.

Williamson, 2000). Williamson also

lists specific types of resources that

are given priority, e.g., online books

and book collections.

Annotations? YES, descriptive

Sites Rated? (e.g., with NO

graphics such as stars)

Browsable? By BUBL subject tree (hierarchical

subjects, from general to specific)

and by Dewey classification numbers

Searchable? Fully cataloged with multiple access

points. Simple and advanced search

available. Fielded searching and

sophisticated search features (e.g.,

Boolean, truncation, etc.) are


Classification System Used? Dewey Decimal

Subject Headings/Controlled Enhanced LCSH


E-Mail Announcements/ Update information available on

Alerts for New Sites Added? “lis-link” mailing list (archive and

subscription instructions available at

LIS-LINK.html). Update bulletins also

available at


Staffing: 2 full-time staff and 1 part-time

staff member

Responsible Person(s)/ Andersonian Library, Strathclyde

Institution(s): University, 101 St. James Road,

Glasgow G4 0NS, Scotland

Funding and Support: Joint Information Systems Committee

(JISC) of the Higher Education Funding

Councils of England, Scotland and

Wales and the Department of Education

for Northern Ireland

Hosted by: BUBL has own server

Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: Can also limit search by file type,

e.g., sound

Table 6.

Name of Web Rating and Internet Scout Project

Evaluation Site: (offering access to weekly Scout

Report, Scout Report Archives, and

NSDL Scout Reports)

Site URL:

current/ (Scout Report, current issue)

(Scout Report, archives)

(NSDL Scout Reports–National Science

Digital Library)

Mission Statement, “To provide timely information to the

Description, Audience: education community about valuable

Internet resources.” Audience: “K-12

and higher education Faculty, staff,

and students, as well as interested

members of the general public” (cf.

Year Founded: 1994

Origins/History: Subject-specific scout reports for

Business & Economics, Social Sciences

& Humanities, and Science &

Engineering discontinued in 2001 due

to lack of funding (cf. Search

engines, 2001).

Approximate Number Over 11,000

of Records:

Selection Criteria: Content, Authority, Information

Maintenance, Presentation,

Availability, and Cost. Detailed

criteria listed at


Annotations? YES, critical annotations (cf.


Sites Rated? (e.g., with NO

graphics such as stars)

Browsable? By LCSH

Searchable? Fully cataloged with multiple access

points. Simple and advanced search

available. Fielded searching and

sophisticated search features (e.g.,

Boolean, truncation, phrase searching,

etc.) are available.

Classification System Used? Broad LC class only, e.g., Z, RG, etc.

Not searchable or browsable.

Subject Headings/Controlled LCSH


E-Mail Announcements/ YES. Can subscribe by going to

Alerts for New Sites Added?


Staffing: 17 staff including 2 librarian

catalogers. Sites selected by

“professional librarians, educators,

and content specialists.”

Responsible Person(s)/ Department of Computer Science,

Institution(s): University of Wisconsin-Madison

Funding and Support: National Science Foundation

Hosted by: University of Wisconsin

Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: Links regularly checked and updated.

Scout Portal Toolkit software

information available at

Table 7.

Name of Web Rating and Academic Info

Evaluation Site:

Site URL:

Mission Statement, “To provide students, educators, and

Description, Audience: librarians with an easy to use online

subject directory to access quality,

relevant, and current Internet

resources on each academic discipline”


Focus is on students in high school

and above.

Year Founded: 1998

Origins/History: Began as a for-profit site. In 2002,

it was registered in the State of

Washington as a non-profit


Approximate Number Not found on site

of Records:

Selection Criteria: Specific collection development policy

with criteria is available on-site,

currently at

Annotations? Mostly quotes from sites themselves

Sites Rated? (e.g., with NO

graphics such as stars)

Browsable? YES, by hierarchical classification,

general to specific

Searchable? YES, by keyword only. Boolean

operators supported Default operator

is “or.”

Classification System Used? NO

Subject Headings/Controlled NO


E-Mail Announcements/ YES, monthly list.

Alerts for New Sites Added?

Staffing: Mike Madin, President of Academic Info

Responsible Person(s)/ Mike Madin


Funding and Support: Corporate and individual sponsors

Hosted by: Site has its own server

Prime URL for “about”


COMMENTS: “Academic Info relies on donations and

sponsors to fulfill its mission.”


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Adrienne Franco, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian, Iona College Libraries, 715 North Avenue, New Rochester, NY 10801-1890 LIBRARY TRENDS, Vol. 52, No. 2, Fall 2003, pp. 228-246

ADRIENNE FRANCO is the Reference and Instructional Services Librarian at the Iona College Libraries in New Rochelle, New York, where she teaches bibliographic instruction courses and coordinates library instruction and reference activities. She has created the Web site “Finding Quality Information on the World Wide Web,” which was originally produced for a presentation given by her and Richard Palladino at the tenth annual meeting of the International Information Management Association in 1999. She serves as a member (and past chair) of the WALDO Information Services Committee.

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