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Guides and Handouts

Criteria for Evaluating Websites

This document, "Criteria for Evaluating Websites," is also available as a PDF for easy printing.

 

ACCURACY
  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her? Is this person qualified to write this document?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.
  • Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.

AUTHORITY

  • Who published the document, and is the publisher different from the "Webmaster?"
  • What institution publishes this document?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?
  • What credentials are listed for the author(s)?
  • Where is the document published? Check URL domains to see the name of the institution that published the document.

OBJECTIVITY

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?
  • Determine if page is a mask for advertising, if so, information might be biased.
  • View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television.  Ask yourself: Why was this written and for whom?

CURRENCY

  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
  • How many dead links are on the page?
  • Are the links current or updated regularly?
  • Is the information on the page outdated?
  • For the purposes they serve, do these pages provide GOOD and Enough links to related information?

COVERAGE

  • Are the links (if any) evaluated, and do they complement the theme?
  • Is the Web page all images or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?
  • If page required special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?
  • Is it free, or is there a fee to obtain the information?
  • Is there an option for test only or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?

Kapoun, Jim. "Questioning Web authority: How a librarian trains students to assess Web page credibility." Aft On Campus 18.5  (2000) :  4.


Sites to help you evaluate information:


CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal)
QuackWatch
Statistical Resources on the Web
Urban Legends Reference Pages
The Virtual Chase - Groups that alert the public to internet fraud, fanaticism and bad information

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