The more questions you can answer, the more reliable the web site.
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!
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?
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
When was it last updated?
- Is the information current?
- When was it last revised?
- What is the copyright date?
- Are there many broken links?
Where can I find more information?
- What can you find out about the author or site using other Internet sources or library reference materials?
- Librarians’ Internet Index: www.lii.org
- Contemporary Authors
- Gale Biography Resource Center
- Encyclopedia of Associations
- Magazines for Libraries