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Evaluating Information on the Web

It is not always easy to determine if information on the World Wide Web is credible. However, using the guidelines below will help you in making that evaluation.

AUTHORITY
  • Who is the author of this page?
  • What are their credentials?
  • What institution are they affiliated with?
  • Does the page conveniently display this information?
OBJECTIVITY
  • What is the purpose of this page?
  • Does the author state the goals for this site?
  • Does this page inform, educate, persuade or act as a soap box?
  • If the author is affiliated with an institution (government, university, business, organization, etc), does this affiliation bias the information presented?
ACCURACY
  • A sloppy page (bad grammar, misspelling) indicates hastiness.
  • It's always a good idea to cross-reference information no matter where you find it.
  • Do graphics add or subtract from the content?
  • Is the information complete or fragmented?
CURRENCY
  • When was this page created?
  • Is there a revision/creation date?
  • Do the links work?
  • Is the page maintained and new material added?
Remember to ask yourself:
"Is the Web the best place for this type of information... would a print source or an electronic database be a better choice?"
Double check with a Reference Librarian if you are unsure.

The criteria presented here will help you to critically appraise web resources.

For more in-depth information, check out