ICS 1C: Homework 4 Guidelines and Assesment Criteria

One document you may want to use as a model is John December's "New Spiders Roam the Web". Some of its good features: This article, however, is not quite long enough for this assignment. You should aim for a length of 3 to 5 full pages of text.

While December's article is a bit short, the next example you might want to consult is a bit long: Bertrand Ibrahim's and Steve Franklin's Advanced Educational Uses of the World-Wide Web. This paper is written in a more academic style than is December's; it has an Abstract, Introduction, Conclusion, Footnotes, and Bibliography. You can follow this format if you want to, but it's a bit of over-kill for this assignment.

Here are some criteria which will be used in assessing your work on this assignment.

Spelling and Proofreading

There should be no indication that you wrote the document two hours before it was submitted, even if that was the case. A tip: at the ea> prompt, enter spell doc.html where doc.html is the name of your document. All words not in the dictionary will be listed. There will be many false positives, but all misspelled words will be listed as well. Note: The spell command is not a substitute for careful proofreading!

Style and tone

Your document should be thoughtful, serious and lively. Try to avoid cliches, hyperbole, unsupported opinions, slang, jargon, and passive sentences.

Take advantage of what HTML has to offer

HTML offers hypertext links to other documents, of course; but there's much more:

Appropriate breadth of topic

Your topic should not be too broad or too narrow. If it's too broad, it may end up merely being a survey of a subject area. If it's too narrow, you may have trouble finding enough references and enough things to say. Try to minimize the survey and overview part of your document (although a few paragraphs may well be appropriate) and emphasize the analysis and critique part of the document.

Interesting and thoughtful content

Many of us have had the pleasant experience of coming across a "mother-lode" document, one which provides a useful overview of a subject area, expresses opinions arising from a distinct and well thought out point of view, and is chock full of links to related documents. You should aim to produce a document of this nature. Your document should go far beyond being a hotlist of URLs you have run across.

Although the format of this assignment is not question and answer, it may be useful to formulate several questions about your topic and write your document so that those questions are answered. The following questions are offered as examples of the types of questions that you may find helpful to consider and to address. There is no requirement to ask or to answer these specific questions.

Interesting links

As far as possible, your links should be to documents which are themselves interesting. Prefer primary sources over secondary ones (e.g., if you were writing on WWW search engines, it would be better to link to Lycos and The Harvest Project than to December's New Spiders article). If you are not writing about search engines, then don't mention them; this document is not about how you found the URLs you link to. (Of course, there could be an exception to this rule, if the path to the link was germane to your topic.)

The five URLs you submitted with your proposal should just be a starting point -- ideally you'll have many more, not all directly related to your topic (see the December and Franklin documents for examples).

Reasonable length

A document written by one person should be between 1500 and 2500 words -- between 3 to 5 full pages. Documents with more than one author should be longer, of course.

More than one author

Generally, if there are multiple authors we will expect a longer and higher quality paper. The norm will be that all authors will receive the same score.


Normal considerations of academic honesty are in effect for this research project. All words and ideas which are not your own must be properly attributed, just as in every other research paper you have ever written or will ever write.