Using Information and Media

When and how should I use the resources I find?

Evaluating Websites

Before you use a website for an assignment, test for CRAAP. (Based on the CRAAP Test from the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico)
  • Currency: Is the info up-to-date?
  • Relevance: Is this the right info for your needs?
  • Authority: What’s the source of the info?
  • Accuracy: Is it reliable, truthful, and correct?
  • Purpose: Why does this info exist?

Citing Sources

Citing your sources is one aspect of using information ethically. When you cite a source, you give credit to the people on whose work you are building and you make it possible to trace ideas to their sources. You also add credibility to your own work by demonstrating that you have done your research, based your conclusions on reliable information, and engaged in the traditions of academic research.

Resources and tutorials for citing sources and using NoodleTools for citation and research management are available on the Citation Help tab, or visit the library with any questions.

Fair Use vs. Copyright Infringement

Another aspect of ethical information use is avoiding copyright infringement. Using works that are not under copyright, either because they are in the public domain or because the creator of the work has chosen to license their work in a way that allows use or remixing, is generally ethical, provided that you abide by the creator's guidelines for use. Using works that are copyrighted is trickier. When copyrighted works are used in education, news reporting, parody, or criticism, this use can be defended under certain circumstances. For more, check out these resources. (For the fun version of how fair use works, skip to the bottom of this list and watch "A Fair(y) Use Tale.")