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ARTH 111: Development of Art and Ideas

Evaluating Sources-Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Not all information is created equally. Information resources reflect their creators' expertise and credibility and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used.

Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority.

For example: A community of craft enthusiasts may give authority to a website such as Pinterest to gather information on DIY projects. Whereas, a community of fine artists may give authority to other practicing artists to gather information on their techniques and processes and not give authority to Pinterest. 

Authority is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority. 

For example: A student may rely on the authority of professional art historians through their scholarly writing in traditionally published books as they write about the life of a deceased artist. If the student decides to write about a living artist, they may rely on the authority of the artist and their community through informal interviews, even if the artist and their community are not professional art historians or art critics. 

For this course: You will need to seek out information considered scholarly in nature. What is scholarly information? It is information that has gone through a specific process known as peer-review. This usually refers to articles published in periodicals that have been written by experts and reviewed by other professionals familiar with the research area