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Authority

  • Can you tell who is the creator? Does he/she have any special qualifications on this subject?
  • Is there an institution/organization sponsoring the site? (You may have to go back a few levels or check some of the links to find out). What clues indicate if the organization has a particular bias or agenda?
  • What is the "top domain" in the URL of the site? (e.g. .org, .com, .edu, .gov, .net, etc.)
  • Is contact information provided for the creator(s) or webmaster?
  • To see who owns the domain name, search the domain name in Network Solutions "whois" records at http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp
  • To see what others think of the site (what pages link to this site), try a link search on google.com Type link:thedomainofthesite in the search box (that is, type the word link, followed by a colon, then no space, then the domain of the site you want to evaluate, for example link:greeningearthsociety.org).

Purpose

  • What do you think the purpose of the site is? Consider what benefits the author or sponsor derives from this site.

Audience

  • At what audience is this website directed?

Accuracy/Objectivity

  • Does the information seem accurate and objectively presented?

    - OR -
  • Does the site appear to have a bias or express undocumented opinions? Is the information one-sided or subjective or does it appear questionable?
  • Are there spelling or typographical errors, or flaws or strengths in the format and appearance that give you clues as to the reliability of this site?
  • Are there references or links that lead to useful information or that verify statements on the page?

Content

  • Is the content informative and useful?
  • Does the website cover the topic adequately?

Currency

  • Can you tell when the site was last updated or if the information seems up-to-date? Check "Page Info" on Netscape or type javascript:alert(document.lastModified) into the URL address box
  • Do the links work? Some topics do not require frequent updates, but you may want to know whether anyone is maintaining the site.

Summary

  • What is your overall assessment of the site? Useful? Good reliable source? Joke? Junk? Useful only to show a particular viewpoint? Would this be a good source of information for a research paper?

Many other Web sites discuss Web evaluation criteria:

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