Information Literacy Issues: Content Scope

Evaluate the scope of the site

Identifying the scope of material presented is the basic breadth and depth question of what's covered and in what detail. The scope should reflect the purpose of the site and its intended audience. Evaluating scope includes reviewing topical aspects of a subject on which the site is focused and noting if there are any key omissions from the subject area.

Many Web sites have abstract levels of current information but no archives or information in depth. Users should look for specific information included on the website that describes the intended scope and audience. If this information is not available, and it usually is not, one can look for clues in key headings and follow links to estimate the scope of the material.

Things to look for:

  • Is there a stated purpose of the site
  • Who is the intended audience for the site
  • Are there statements of scope and any limitations which may apply
  • What is the site comprehensiveness
Yahoo! Kids
Yahoo! Kids audience/purpose
California Stories
Photographs of the Old West
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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 January 2007. Copyright Protected

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