Information Literacy Issues: Timeliness

Evaluate the timeliness of the site

Printed media is often considered to be out of date before it reaches its audience. Some data gathered by electronic means can be displayed immediately on the Internet while other information was translated from printed materials that already fit the "out of date" description. If a government manual is on-line, it can be edited within minutes of new policy implementation, but was it?

With the exception of archival information, all sources should be checked for currency. Email sent to a Listserv is dated. Many websites post the date and, sometimes, the time of the last modification to the information. This may be included in a stated policy for the site or be given on individual files. Sometimes you will find relevant information in a document header or footer. This may help you determine if you revisit the site in the future for additional or newer information.

Things to look for:

  • Posting and revision dates
  • Policy statements for information maintenance
  • Link maintenance - do the hyperlinks work?
Center for the Arts
Maui Dining

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Originally published May 1996 by Lida L. Larsen, Assistant Director, Collegial Relations and Information Services, Office of Information Technology, University of Maryland, College Park. Revised April 2006. Copyright Protected

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