Criteria for Evaluating Resources on the World Wide Web.
Web sites need to be examined using the same criteria used for books and periodicals. Here is a list derived from Susan Beck's electronic article, The Good, The
Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources:
Is the information you are gathering reliable and error-free?
- Is there an editor or someone who verifies or checks the information?
Anyone can publish anything on the Web. Unlike traditional print resources, web resources may not have editors or fact-checkers.
Is there an author?
- Who is the author?
- Is the page signed?
- Is s/he an expert in the field?
- Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor?
- Who is the publisher?
- If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin?
*** Look for a header or footer showing affiliation.
It's often hard to determine a web page's authorship. Check the site's home page to identify the institution, organization or entity responsible for the whole site.
Even if a page is signed, qualifications aren't usually given. Sponsorship isn't usually given.
What is the author's purpose?
- Does the information show a minimum of bias?
- Is the page designed to sway opinion?
- Is there any advertising on the page?
- Has the page been reviewed?
- What do the reviewers say about objectivity?
- Who are the reviewers?
Frequently the goals of the sponsor/authors aren't clearly stated.
Is the page dated?
- If so, when was the last updated?
- How current are the links?
- Have some expired or moved?
- Is the material you have selected current?
Publication or revision dates not always provided. If a date is provided, it may have various meanings. For example:
It may indicate when the material was written.
- It may indicate when the material was first placed on the Web.
- It may indicate when the material was last revised.
What topics are covered?
- What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?
- How in-depth and scope of the materials given?
Web coverage often differs from print coverage.
Frequently, it's difficult to determine the extent of coverage. Check the site page for a list of what is on the entire site.
What type of site is it? Is it a.edu, .gov, .org or .com site?
The type of domain will tell you a lot about the scope and objectivity of a site. A .edu may be more scholarly, while a .gov site may have more statistical documents in
it. A .com site will have advertising which may effect the editorial policy of the site.