So, we learned about evaluating sources of information from the Internet today. Basically, it was to help us to distinguish “reliable” sources. As we discussed this topic today, I realized that the purpose of what you are doing is the most important aspect of looking for reliable information.

For example, if you’re looking for information on the Tanzimat Reforms of the Ottoman Empire (late nineteenth-century reforms that attempted to modernize the ailing Ottoman Empire), a site such as http://www.lolcat.com (a collection of pictures with animals in anthropomorphic poses with accompanying humorous captions) would be completely worthless to you. It would not be a reliable source. However, a reliable source to you in your search for the Late Ottoman Reform movement would be http://bit.ly/b1q0NJ ( a University of Michigan PDF file that explains the Reform Movement while further referencing other scholarly works). Since this particular piece is from an educational institute (and is thus most probably peer-reviewed at some basic level for good form and research), this University of Michigan website would be, at the very least, an excellent starting place for research on the Tanzimat Reforms of the late Ottoman Empire.

We also looked at an interesting website which underscored the potentional deception of the internet, certain and their ability to seem pretty reliable but in fact are so heavily biased for (or against) a given subject that any semblence of a good research toward the veracity or fallacy of said subject is lost in a haze of propaganda-like and unproven claims. For example, let us look at http://www.martinlutherking.org/, a site which boasts deeper knowledge of not just the American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, but the “agenda” of certain African-American organizations, groups, and even culture. Alas, a deeper look into the website’s roots leads us to the true proprietors of this website, the Stormfront forum: http://www.stormfront.org/forum/. This website is a forum used by a white supremacist group of the same name which audaciously boasts the motto “White Pride World Wide.” Now, I didn’t bother to sign up for the forums (mainly because I wouldn’t be too receptive to their exclusionary and radical message) but from what I saw, there were no historians, sociologists, or professional investigators (people who would have an “ideal” background for digging up deeper knowledge) among the “staff” on Stormfront. Ergo, I found this website, along with the Dr. Martin Luther King website they maintained, as complete and utter Internet trash and worthless in terms of finding anything out about Dr. MLK (which, I would imagine, someone would be doing if they were looking for websites on the civil rights leader).

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