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Introducing computing and IT
Introducing computing and IT

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2.3 Information

The internet has had a huge impact on the availability of information of all kinds. Material on the web reflects widely differing viewpoints, from official news bulletins to unofficial rumours, and comes from widely differing sources, from commercial megastores to community groups. Since no individual government, company or person has control over it, the internet has paved the way to unfettered publishing of information of all kinds, raising questions about the authority and regulation of this information. Some governments try to exert control over the information their citizens can access and create, with varying degrees of success.

For example, the widely used online encyclopedia, Wikipedia contains millions of articles, many of high-quality scholarship, but there are also articles that are of suspect quality and may even be deliberately misleading. Its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness in that anyone with an internet connection can edit its pages, except for those that are protected. The encyclopedia itself advises users to treat with caution any one single source (whatever the media) or multiple works that derive from a single source.

The ever-increasing volume of online information available on the web means that it is important to think critically about what you find, especially if you are going to use it for study or work purposes. Finding and evaluating information online are important digital and information literacy (DIL) skills.