Date: April 26, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jeanette Smith, NMSU Library, (575) 646-7492, email@example.com
Many organizations promote lists of best Web sites. One of these is the annual Webby Awards at http://www.webbyawards.com/. Another is http://www.100bestwebsites.org/, which compiles a “100 Best Web Sites” list.
100bestWeb sites.org, a nonprofit site, uses several criteria when scouring the Internet and refining its list of the best Web sites in existence. Its standards are listed below. Fifteen of the top-rated sites from the list of “100 Best Web Sites” appear following the criteria.
Overall Excellence: Is the site simply the best available in its category? Is there no better representative Web site of that subject area anywhere on the Web?
Content Richness: Is the site rich in content? Here, we must take care to distinguish great Web sites from good Web sites about great things! If the most important three words in real estate are “location, location, location,” the most important three words in Web site evaluation are “content, content, content.”
Breadth: Does the site broadly cover a subject area? For example, we might be considering two Web sites about human history. One attempts to cover the entire scope of human history. The other might focus on a particular period in history. Each might be outstanding in its treatment of its subject. But for the purposes of this list, the first Web site, the broader of the two, would be preferred.
User-friendliness: Is the site intuitive and easy to use? Does it enable the user to jump right in with very little training?
Reliability: Is the site reliable? Is it nearly always available, and is it unlikely to “crash” the user’s browser? A wonderful site that is often unavailable is not great.
Freshness: If applicable, is the site frequently updated? Obviously, this is more important in a news site or online magazine than a site devoted to an historical topic.
Security: Is the free from significant security risks to the user? If it is a commercial site, does it restrict transactions to a secure interface? If it is a site from which the user can download things, is care taken to ensure that these things are safe for the user’s system?
Free Content: Is the content free? This is not an absolute requirement, but strong preference is given to sites with high-quality no-cost content. A free site that offers 85% of the high-quality content of its for-pay counterpart will probably be preferred to the for-pay site (other things being equal).
Skillful Practices: Opinions vary greatly on just what constitutes skillful Web design. 100bestWeb sites.org feels that it is best defined with respect to an imagined “minimal” Web user. Does the site load reasonably quickly? Would the main features of the site be visible without scrolling?
Easy Access: If the site has free content, is it easily available without registration, passwords, or other hoops the user has to jump through? If the site is available only for pay, is the “access ritual” minimally cumbersome?
Modestly priced: If the site is only available for pay, is the cost modest and reasonable? How does the cost compare with other sites offering similar services for pay?
Creative and Innovative: Is the site, innovative and/or creative? Some sites redefine a whole category of how things are done on the Web. Sites which take risks and succeed in breathtaking ways are definitely given preference, other things being equal.
Objective: If applicable, is the site independent and reasonably objective? This is relevant for sites that present themselves as objective, explicitly or tacitly, such as news sites or review sites.
Aesthetic: Is the site aesthetically pleasing?
Fun: Is the site enjoyable? Never underestimate the value of fun.
Multimedia rich: Is the site multimedia rich (upon demand) and skillful in its use of multimedia?
No annoying advertising: Does the site shun annoying advertising
Persistence: Is the site likely to be persistent?
Non-profit: Is the site non-profit? Non-profit sites are not intrinsically preferable, but since they do not get the same attention as their commercial counterparts, one is more likely to find hidden jewels in their ranks.
Easy-to-remember URL: Can the site name be memorized easily or “bookmarked in one’s neurons?” Catchy names are not essential, but they do enable a user of the site to access it from just about any Web terminal.
“100 Best Web Sites”
This list is compiled by the editors of 100bestWeb sites.org, a non-profit site. It receives no compensation from the sites listed. Here are the top 15 of the best 100, with 100bestWeb sites.org annotations:
Yahoo is your Online Free Treasure Room! An outstanding search engine especially for “official” Web sites), it also provides a cornucopia of free services: free email, maps, Yellow Pages, games, shopping, news, finance, sports, live chat. The list just goes on and on.
We believe Google is simply the best tool on the Web for finding just about anything (except possibly “official” Web sites). It is screamingly fast, sleek, streamlined, and as comprehensive as a search tool can be.
Amazon is nothing less than a revolution in how the world shops. It is a huge step forward in the achievement of an ideal competitive market. It is user-friendly, vast, and reliable.
About.com breaks up the Web into major subject areas with a volunteer human host for each of them. It helps you sift out the wheat from the chaff on an enormous range of subjects.
Much of the greatest literature in the history of humankind will be found in full text form (and free of charge) at this amazing site. In addition, many useful reference tools are here (also free).
6. Google Groups
Formerly “DejaNews,” Google Groups is a glorious experiment in free speech. This oceanic database of over 800 million posted “Usenet” messages from people all over the globe constitutes the largest bulletin board in the history of the world! It’s fully searchable, and you can post your own messages free of charge. (Tip: to avoid spam, use a temporary email address.)
7. Google News
A bold endeavor in online journalism, Google News provides you hundreds of news sources for each of the major stories of the day. Just find the story that interests you on the main page, and you will see something like “227 related” or “535 related” just beneath it. Click this to see the extensive range of news sources available for the story you are after.
For fast-breaking news and responsible journalism, it’s hard to beat CNN. And the text content at this site is mostly free.
EBay is the world’s biggest, longest-running garage sale, as well as its most extensive auction house. Buy, sell, browse, bid, and be amazed at what you find at this wonderful site.
If you love software treasure-hunting, Download.com is the site for you! This massive and well-rounded collection of shareware and freeware is fully searchable and sortable. And there’s no wait for a package in the mail: download it now, install it, and take it for a test drive.
Craigslist.org is a daring bulletin board system directed toward the major cities in the US, Canada, the UK, and soon other countries. The magical distinction of Craigslist is its use of anonymous email forwarding: your email address is invisible to the public. A pointer which expires after several days forwards all responses to you. Visit Craigslist if you want to sell or buy something, if you want to meet new people romantically or otherwise, if you want to look for a job, or if you want to share your ideas. Almost all of its features are totally free, except job listings for employers.
Your inner-librarian will be delighted! Here you will find free of charge dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, and an assortment of other helpful resources.
One of the most remarkable online encyclopedias on the Web. All the content is free, in the public domain, and quotable. Wikipedia is maintained by an army of volunteers. Even so, its content remains of very high quality. You might be surprised how often Wikipedia will come through for you.
Beliefnet.com is an online community for people who practice spirituality in just about any tradition in the world. The emphasis here is on mutual respect and tolerance. Free inquiry and exchange of ideas is invited. Secular philosophies and ideas are also welcome. Also, sacred texts from the world’s great religions will be found referenced at this site.
Anywho is a great online phone book and people-finder sponsored by AT&T. Use the Yellow Pages for businesses, the White Pages for people, and the Reverse Lookup if all you have is a phone number.
Visit the full list of the “100 Best Web Sites” at http://100bestWeb sites.org”.