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Evaluating Web Pages: Evaluating Web Pages

Guidelines for Evaluating Web Pages

1. Accuracy

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Is this person qualified to write this document
    • Make sure author provides e-mail or contact address/phone number
    • Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.

2. Authority

  • Who published the document and is it separate from the “Webmaster?”
  • Check the domain of the document - what institution publishes this document?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?
    • What credentials are listed for the authors?
    • Where is the document published? Check URL domain.

3. Objectivity

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
    • Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so, information might be biased.
    • View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?

4. Currency

  • When was it produced?
  • What was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
    • How many dead links are there?
    • Are the links current or updated regularly?
    • Is the information on the page outdated?

5. Coverage

  • Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents’ theme?
  • Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?
    • If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don’t have the software?
    • Is it free or is there a fee to obtain the information? Is there an option for text only, or a suggested browser for better viewing?

Putting It All Together

Accuracy: If your page lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her and...

Authority: if your page lists the author’s credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net), and...

Objectivity: if your page provides accurate information with limited advertising and it is objective in presenting the information, and...

Currency: if your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and...

Coverage: if you can view the information properly – not limited to fees, browser technology, or software requirement, then...

You may have a web page that could be of value to your research!

Adapted From

Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.

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