Welcome to Internet Detective

What is Internet Detective?

Internet Detective is an interactive, online tutorial which provides an introduction to the issues of information quality on the Internet and teaches the skills required to evaluate critically the quality of an Internet resource.

Why do the tutorial?

The Internet offers access to many resources but some of them can be of questionable quality.

As things stand, the Internet has no system of quality control - all of human life is there - the good, the bad and the ugly: academic journals sit next to comics; presidential speeches next to idle gossip; today's news next to yesterday's news ...

It is often left up to you, the end user, to distinguish which is which!

  • don't degrade your work by using poor quality information
  • don't get caught out by citing mis-information
  • learn how to recognise high quality information quickly and effectively
  • improve your Internet information skills

Hire the help of the Internet Detective!

Internet Detective teaches the critical evaluative skills required to assess the quality of an Internet resource. It's free, can be accessed over the WWW and has quizzes and practical exercises to lighten the learning process.

Who is the tutorial for?

Internet Detective can be useful for anyone who: After completing the tutorial you will: The tutorial has been funded by the European Union's Telematics for Research Programme, so will be of particular relevance to those looking for academic information: researchers, lecturers, students and librarians.

What does the tutorial involve?

Internet Detective will take you about one or two hours to complete if you work through all the material in one go. It allows you to work at your own pace and involves quizzes and exercises for you to try.

You can complete the tutorial over more than one sitting - your username will automatically take you back to the page you last visited.

On the left of your screen you will see the table of contents for the tutorial - this is hyperlinked for you to use to find your way around. The tutorial contents can be summarised as follows:

Site Map

  • Welcome (that's where you are now!)
    • using the tutorial - some tips and hints
  • Issues of quality on the Internet - an introduction to the problems that can be encountered when using Internet information resources
  • Practical steps that can be taken to evaluate quality on the Internet:
    • purpose - defining your information needs
    • orientation within an Internet site
    • URLs as clues to quality
    • types - identifying the type of resource you are looking at
  • Quality criteria that can be used to evaluate an Internet resource, including criteria for:
    • Content - the information itself
    • Form - the format of the resource
    • Process - the systems that support the integrity of the resource over time
  • Examples that illustrate the evaluation process:
    • the "Case of the Questionable Content"
    • the "Case of the (Fairly) Functional Form"
    • the "Case of the Proper Process"
  • Try it out - examples to try that test critical skills in evaluating:
    • electronic journals
    • mailing lists
    • subject-based Web sites
    • organisational home pages
  • Quality services - a pointer to some of the quality controlled Internet search services
  • References
  • Appendix a - for those interested in writing a scope policy for an Internet service
  • Appendix b - for those interested in writing a collection management policy
  • Appendix c - a list of country and organisational codes

There are refresher quizzes throughout the tutorial.

Who created Internet Detective?

The tutorial has been produced by the DESIRE Project with funding from the European Union, under the Telematics for Research, Fourth Framework Programme. The first edition was written and completed in May 1998 and this second edition was brought out in July 1999.


Emma Place (nee Worsfold) Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol BS8 1HH, UK
Debra Hiom Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol BS8 1HH, UK
Marianne Peereboom Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), PO Box 90407, 2509 LK Den Haag, Netherlands

Internet Detective uses TONIC-NG, an online tutorial delivery system developed by Tony MacDonald, Carl Vincent and Donal Hanna at Netskills, University of Newcastle, UK.

Thanks go to:

Dan Brickley, Phil Cross, Paul Hofman, Tracey Hooper, Lesly Huxley and Jasper Tredgold of the Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol, for their creative comments and input.

Thanks also to Terry Kuny from the National Library of Canada and manager of IFLA.net for help with dissemination of the tutorial to the international library community.

Acceptable use

Internet Detective has been developed to benefit the academic research community in the European Union. It may be freely used for non-commercial academic and research purposes.

Any other use is prohibited without the prior permission of the copyright owner, DESIRE, contact: desire-demo@bris.ac.uk

Any feedback on the tutorial should also be sent to this email address.