Evaluating Web Resources
Quoted from an article in CR&L News July/August 1998, p. 523
If your page lists the author and institution that published the
page and provides a way of contacting him/her, and . . .
If your page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred
(edu., gov., org. or .net) and . . .
If your page provides accurate information with limited advertising
and it is objective in presenting the information, and . . .
If your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page)
and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and . . .
If you can view the information properly--not limited to fees, browser
technology, or software requirement, then . . .
You may have a higher quality Web page that could be of value to
Based on the article Best Free Reference Web Sites, Seventh Annual List
which appeared in Reference & User Services Quarterly, Vol. 45, #1, Fall
2005, p. 39
Quality, depth and usefulness of content
clear statement of the content, including any intended biases
provides appropriate links to other Web sites
attention to detail; absence of grammatical errors, absence of spelling
errors, and so on
Uniqueness of content - - Currency of content
uniqueness of the resource as a whole; creativity
links are kept up-to-date
update frequency is appropriate for the subject matter
Authority of producer
authority and legality clearly stated
if not easily recognizable, an explanation of the history and purpose
of the organization
Ease of Use—Customer Service
user-friendly design; easy navigation
good search engine
attractive; graphic design leaves good impression
easy output (downloading or printing)
contacts are responsive; e-mail addresses readily available
Efficiency [note: efficiency is affected by a
user's method of Internet access]
graphics load quickly or are not so intensive as to seriously degrade access
any required plug-ins are available for easy download
realiable, speedy server
Appropriate use of the Web as a medium
components are well integrated (audio, video, text, and so on)
useful information is still available, even if the user does not have all the
plug-ins and media components
Sites with longer more elaborate evaluation criteria
All of the following websites are kept current, are updated frequently, and are authored by professional librarians or university faculty members
- Evaluating Sources: Internet Sources Purdue
- Evaluating Sources : Basic Criteria an excellent basic list of questions to be used in evaluating resources. See also Distinguishing Scholarly Journals from other Periodicals on the same site
- Evaluating Web Content SUNY Albany University Library
- Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply and Questions to Ask UC-Berkeley Libraries
- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, or Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources New Mexico State University Library
- World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Evaluating Information Sources One of the WWWVL's many well-maintained sites. This particular site is updated frequently.
- Virtual Salt: Evaluating Internet Research Sources a retired University professor offers some interesting insights on web site evaluation; archived 2007
Additional Sources of Interest
101 Research 101 is an interactive tutorial about conducting
research, developing research questions, and understanding how information is
produced and distributed.
The Virtual Chase: Teaching
Legal Professionals How to do Research:
Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet Publishers Wanted, No Experience Necessary: Information Quality on the Web This article is archived and it may take a moment to load. It is a column written in 1997 by Genie Tyburski, a legal librarian. The content continues to be very relevant. Intentionally Misleading Web Sites an article in from techLearning an online resource for K-12 teachers.
Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him.—Ernest HemingwayThe Crap Test : a way to evaluate a source based on the following criteria—Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose/Point of View See also The Libraries and Transliteracy blog of 16 September 2010
and Howard Feingold's Crap Detection 101