Criteria for Examining the Credibility of Information on Web SitesInformation aggregated byJane Mitchinson-Schwartz
AUTHORITY checking the qualifications and reputation of an author or sourceQuestions to ask:• Who is providing the information?• Is there personal contact information?• What is the expertise of the author?• Does the email domain match with the internet domain?• Has the site been verified by a reputable authority certification company?
Security Certificate CheckFor sites containing secure information such as mail servers, e-retail,Banks, and charities, type an “s” after “http” to enable a check of thesecurity certificate.
Verisign and Thawte are two of the most widely used certificate authorities
AUTHORITY Clues to look for Registered site (whois.net or allwhois.net) 411 and Mapquest on name and address use search engines to get links or other sites Email or postal site that can be verified Read author bios or “about us” links Check professional directories check certificate of authority
ACCURACY error free and reliable informationQuestions to ask:• Does the information appear to contain a minimum amount of bias?• Is the information that has been selected designed to sway the reader?• Is there any advertising on this site? What kind?• Who else uses or links to this site?
ACCURACY Clues to look for Writing that has been thoroughly checked is more likely to be written by someone who has fact-checked their information as well. More than one person fact-checking is better than one. Check for a bibliography (paper trail) Check information against other sources.
AccuracyQuestions to ask:• Is the information free from grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors?• Is there a person in a higher-up position such as an Editor who has checked the work before it has been published to the Internet?• Can you cross-check the information with other sources?
OBJECTIVITY free of information/opinions based on emotion and prejudice Clues to look for: Check whether you can detect emotion in the information or the way it is presented. (bias) What is present in the article and what is missing? Advertising may cause a conflict of interest or it may boost credibility. Do a check to see who has put this site in their own links. www.google.com or www.yahoo.com Type in the search window: Link (space) all or part of url
CURRENCY how recent the information is and its usefulness to the presentQuestions to ask:• Is the page dated?• When was the page last updated?• How current are the links?
CURRENCY Clues to look for Check at top of article or bottom of page. (display source code to detect) Check for a revision date. Links that lead to expired pages mean the site hasn’t been updated or checked on regularly. Source code example SiteCatalyst code version: H.9. Copyright 1997-2007 Omniture, Inc. More info available at http://www.omniture.com -->
COVERAGE the extent to which the information has been thoroughly examined and presentedQuestions to ask:• How in depth is the information?• Has anything been left out?• How much of the information has been published?
COVERAGE Clues to look for Look for an index or site map, archives. Are there references to other resources for getting the complete works?
Your Task:• Go to martinlutherking.org• Follow the tips outlined step by step in the handout on checking credibility to assess the credibility of this website.
Resources• “Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages.” Cornell University Library. n.d. Web. 27 July 2011. <http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/ref/research/webcrit.html>• Rowland, Robin. The Creative Guide to Research, Career Press, 2000.• Gil, Paul. “How to Properly Research on the Internet.” Ask.com. Ask, July 2011. Web. 27 July 2011. http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/navigatingthenet/tp/How-to-Properly-Research- Online.htm• “Evaluating Web Pages.” UC Berkeley Library. n.d. Web. 27 July 2011. <http:// www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html>