Module 1 – Unit 2

1.2.  Evaluating data, information and digital content

1.2.1.      Introduction


Finding information on the subject of your concern is the most important step in the research process but it is not the end of the research. The next most important thing you want is information that supports the point you’re trying to make. Some of the sources you have found, might be outdated, biased, or just plain wrong, and using that information makes it a lot more difficult for you to present a convincing argument. So, evaluating data, information and digital content is a necessary process you have to follow if you want your data and information to be of some value. Taking the time to critically evaluate information as you find it, will help you to avoid wrong turns in the research process.

Data and information that are acquired through research usually are meant to be used freely, especially in the educational process, and open data is the main goal. But which conditions do constitute data to be open? The main answer to that question is licensing. In order for data to be open and accessible, which this usually means being published online, must be licensed for anyone to access, use and share.

The activities proposed in this unit guide the reader in a process for evaluating data sources, information and digital content in terms of credibility and reliability. Licensing of open data is discussed to a large extent as its role is crucial for the use and value of open data.


By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • analyse, interpret and critically evaluate data, information and digital content.
  • understand, know and recognise the value of open data and the importance of licensing processes.


Competence area 1 (Information and Data Literacy):

1.2 Evaluating data, information and digital content


Competence area 6 (Facilitating Learner’s digital competence):

6.1 Information and media literacy

REFERENCES (if applicable)





1.2.2.      Explorer Level – Activities do we need to license and What are Creative Commons Licences

Why do we need to license and What are Creative Commons Licences


“Why do we need licences?”

For the case of open data, the following statement is of great value and importance: “Without a licence, data cannot be truly open”.

So, data which is shared with a licence becomes Open Data. A license tells anyone that they can access, use and share one’s data. Unless you have a licence, data may be “publicly available”, but users will not have permission to access, use and share it under copyright or database laws.

There are different types of licences, but the simpler the licence, the better. There are lots of different licences. To maximize reuse, try to adopt a licence standard that is already widely used.

Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons licences are widely used for open content. Version 4.0 explicitly considers data licensing.

In the following URL you can see a 5-minute introduction to all parts of a CC licence.


“Which versions of Creative Commons licences are the most suitable for open data?”


Three Creative Commons versions are most suitable for an open licence:


The public domain and attribution licences give more flexibility in the use of data while a share-alike licence may limit the commercial use of the data.



Can you explain why the other versions of the Creative Commons Licences are not suitable for open data?


Exercise (source:

For each one of the following icons, explain in a sentence or two what you can and cannot do with works that someone has shared under that license.

Other types of Licences

Activity – How to locate a licence

Open data publishers should provide easy access to the licence for all datasets that are available to access, use and share. The location and layout of licence information may vary according to jurisdiction, industry and individual style. Best practice suggests that licences should be easy to find and read.

Visit the following open data catalogues and browse or search for some datasets.

For each dataset

  • locate where and what kind of licences, if applicable, have been adopted
  • in case there is no licence available, discuss in what extent and kind of activities (for example commercial or not) you can use the particular dataset,
  • in case you cannot locate a licence, what could you do to learn under what licence are the data available? Maybe ask the publisher? Maybe search deeper to the metadata of the dataset?


  • Web Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, etc.)


  • 10 minutes: visit URL and watch video
  • 10 minutes for two questions
  • 15 minutes for activity About Cookies

About cookies


When you navigate the Web, you are exposed to a series of laws and regulations linked to browser cookies. It is fundamental that before accepting them you are aware of what cookies are and how they can influence your activity and privacy online.


A cookie is a small text file on your hard drive created by the web pages you visit and can be used to identify you to a website. It looks like a sequence of numbers, a series of codes, which is meaningful only to the software creating them. Cookies are meant to track, personalise and save information about your online session (i.e. recognise users’ login information and preferences; customise advertising; tracking items previously searched to create shopping carts and suggest similar goods). Cookies create some persistence, informing the server that the requests come from the same computer. They can be compared to getting a ticket for a coat check: you leave your coat at the desk; you receive your ticket identifying you; when you come back, you can take back your coat with your ticket.

Cookies have often been at the centre of discussions about privacy violations, as they may allow data aggregation to track your online activity and contribute to the creation of precise user profiles. According to the EU directive on HTTP, a website can grab information on a visitor only after his/her consent. If you wish to remove your cookies, you can usually choose the options that best meet your needs.

Activity – Reflection

Visit the following resources and list information on the questions below about cookies. You can search on the web for more resources.

  • What information can cookies hold? Find more if there are more than those mentioned already.
  • Is it obligatory to accept cookies?
  • Can cookies be dangerous and how?



  • Web Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, etc.)


  • 30 minutes for visiting resources and reflection