|How do I evaluate web sites?
Sites which are freely available over the web, such as those found by a search in Google or Yahoo, require thorough evaluation because the quality of the content can vary so widely. Things to keep in mind regarding web sites include:
- Purpose of the site
Who is the audience for the information provided? Web sites can exist for an educational purpose, for recreational or entertainment reasons, to promote a cause, to sell a product or simply to make information available to the public. The purpose of the site should be kept in mind when considering the information the site provides.
- Sponsorship or authority of the site
Those sites with a .com designation are commercial, often developed by companies with a product to sell or set of ideas to promote. Sites with a .edu suffix are sponsored by educational institutions, often universities. Sites designated .org are usually hosted by non-profit organizations and may promote a specific cause or agenda as well as providing information. Sites sponsored by agencies of government at various levels are designated .gov.
Many web sites indicate the date created as well as the date of the latest revision. Be sure links from within the site are active and up to date.
Sites on the web may be aimed at a broad popular audience or a small group of fellow scholars or followers of a particular cause. Be sure to consider any assumptions or worldview which may underlie the information available on the site.
A site may treat a topic in depth or provide just an overview. It may contain the text of original documents or just summaries. Finally, the site may provide links to related material.
A selection of sources on the web to help in evaluating internet information:
If you are not finding what you need, get in touch with one of the reference librarians by coming to the reference desk on the first floor of the library, calling (920) 403-3160, sending a Yahoo Instant Message to stnorblibrary or sending an e-mail question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|How-to guide quick links: