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3.3.5 Timeliness

Evaluate your information
3.1 Assess your search results
3.2 Revise your search strategy
3.3 Evaluate your resources
  3.3.1 Reliability of the source
  3.3.2 Validity
  3.3.3 Accuracy
  3.3.4 Authority of the author
  * 3.3.5 Timeliness
  3.3.6 Point of view
3.3.7 Evaluate a Web site
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When was the information created or published?

Most information sources indicate a date of publication. If a source provides no information on when it was created or published, it may not be appropriate to use if timeliness is important for your topic. In the Web environment, a date of publication is not always given. When it is, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether the date refers to when the information was first written, placed on the Web, or last revised.

Is the information regularly updated and how often?

Information sources may be updated continuously, daily or at regular intervals, such as monthly or annually.

For example:

  • Exchange rates published by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • News articles published in The Courier-Mail.

Check the dates of the references and data used to determine the currency of the information.

Dead links on a Web page are a sign of irregular maintenance.

Is timeliness important to your information need?

Be aware that some information remains valid over time, while other information may become discredited or obsolete.

For example:

  • The Australian Constitution is an example of a document which is still valid after 100 years.
  • Older maps may not reflect geopolitical changes that have occurred.

Currency of information is more important in fields which are rapidly and continuously developing such as information technology or business. However, uniqueness of a topic or in-depth analysis is sometimes more important than being on the cutting edge!

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