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Evaluating Websites

Here are some things to think about when you evaluate information found on websites:

Accuracy

Almost anyone can publish on the web quickly and easily. Most websites are not verified by editors and/or fact checkers. Many of the steps that exist in the print publishing process to ensure accuracy do not exist in Web publishing, and as of now no new online publishing conventions have been developed comparable to those for print publishing.

Authority

Determining authority for web sources is difficult. Even if the author's name is listed, his or her qualifications for writing on the topic are often absent and the publisher who is responsible is often not indicated.

Objectivity

Frequently the goals and/or aims of persons or groups presenting material on the web are not clearly stated. There is often no way to readily assess the legitimacy of the group or organization that is disseminating the information.

Currency

Dates are not always included on web pages, and if a date is included, it may have various meanings such as date of posting or date of revision or date when material was first written.

Coverage

A statement that tells what topics are covered by the source is often absent.

 

 

Source: Tate, Marsha and Jan Alexander. "Teaching Critical Evaluation Skills for World Wide Web Resources. " Internet Librarian , November/December 1996, p.51.