Bakersfield College

Library shelf full of books

Evaluating Websites

The more questions you can answer, the more reliable the web site.

Author/Host

Who is the author of the information? Who is the host or sponsor of the web site?

  • What information do they provide about themselves?
  • Can you contact them?
    • Is there an email address?
    • Do they list a street address?
  • If you can’t tell who is behind it, DON’T USE IT!

Purpose

Why was the site created? Does it have a specific purpose?

  • Does it state a purpose or mission?
  • What is it?
    • To sell?
    • To inform?
    • To persuade?
    • Other? (Look for an “About Us” link.)
  • What type of site is it?
    • .com = commercial
    • .gov = government
    • .edu = educational
    • .net = network
    • .org = nonprofit organization
    • ~ (tilde) = personal web page

Point of View

What is the point of view?

  • Is there any bias or slant? Or, is it neutral?
  • Are there links to other viewpoints? Or, does it present both sides of the issue?

Credibility

How credible is the source?

  • Does the author or organization have expertise on the topic? What education, degrees, or work experience does the author have?
  • Who is the intended audience? College students? Consumers? Children?
  • Is it scholarly—that is, written by a researcher or expert for a college or academic audience?
  • Are the sources credited with a bibliography, works cited list, or references?
  • Are there any obvious errors or misinformation? Is it a collaborative site such as Wikipedia to which anyone can post or edit information

Currency

When was it last updated?

  • Is the information current?
  • When was it last revised?
  • What is the copyright date?
  • Are there many broken links?

More Information

Where can I find more information?

  • What can you find out about the author or site using other Internet sources or library reference materials?
    • Contemporary Authors
    • Gale Biography Resource Center
    • Encyclopedia of Associations
    • Magazines for Libraries
Kern Community College District