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Website Evaluation

Image courtesy of Kristen King

Content adapted from: Beck, Susan. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It’s a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources. 1997. http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/eval.html


Spend a few minutes exploring this site. What are your general impressions of the webpage?


Five Criteria for Web Evaluation y

Authority

y

Accuracy

y

Objectivity

y

Currency

y

Coverage


Authority y

Is there an author? Is the author qualified? ◦ Look for a header or footer showing affiliation. ◦ Look at the URL. http://www.fbi.gov ◦ Look at the domain: .edu, .com, .uk, .org, .net

Anyone can publish anything on the web. y It is often hard to determine a web page's authorship. y


Are you able to identify the author of this site and/or the organization who created it? If not, how might that affect the usefulness of the information?


Accuracy Is the information reliable and error-free? y Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information? y Unlike traditional print resources, web resources rarely have editors or factcheckers. y Currently, no web standards exist to ensure accuracy. y


Does the author cite any of his sources on the site? If not, how might that affect the accuracy of the information?


Objectivity Does the information show a minimum of bias? y Is the page designed to sway opinion? y Is there any advertising on the site? y Websites are often a “soapbox� for personal opinion. y


Is there any evidence of bias on this page? If so, how might that affect the usefullness of the information?


Currency Is the page dated? y If so, when was the last update? y How current are the links? Have some expired or moved? y Publication or revision dates are not always provided. y


Is this page up to date? If not, how might that affect the usefulness of the information?


Coverage What topics are covered? y What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere? y How in-depth is the material? y Frequently, it's difficult to determine the extent of coverage of a topic from a web page. The page may or may not include links to other web pages or print references. y


Does this site provided detailed/in-depth information? If not, how might that affect the usefulness of the information?


Remember: A Good Website Has‌ y

Authority

y

Accuracy

y

Objectivity

y

Currency

y

Coverage


website evaluation