Evaluating Websites Revised


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For teaching students the criteria for evaluating websites and other free web information.

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Evaluating Websites Revised

  1. 1. Stephanie Herfel Librarian Newburgh Campus Library
  2. 2. Be an investigator!
  3. 3. Purpose  Why was the website created?  .edu and .gov sites are reliable  .com generally exist to sell you something  .org sites are okay as long as the purpose is not to convince that an opinion is fact  Who is the intended audience?  Is there a lot of advertising on the page = Be critical!
  4. 4. Authority       Is the author’s name easy to find? Is the author an expert on the topic? Is an About Us page included? Does the website have a contact page? .gov, .edu, or .org site? Are sources cited?
  5. 5. ABOUT US http://www.cancer.org/
  6. 6. Let’s Look at an Example… http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
  7. 7. Objectivity  Why was the webpage created?  Fact or an opinion?  Look out for bias  Bias = an opinion formed without evidence, facts, or knowledge.
  8. 8. Currency (When?)  When was the webpage written?  When was the page last updated?  Medical and technology- dates are important  Literature and history topics- dates are less important
  9. 9. Coverage  Is there enough information for your purpose?  Is the information provided appropriate for college research?  Can the same information be found from a more credible source? (book, encyclopedia, or journal article)
  10. 10. Design  How is the information arranged?  Is it well organized?  Is the webpage free of spelling/grammar errors?
  11. 11. A reliable website has:  Purpose. If your page was created to educate or help others and…  Authority. If your page lists the author 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 your page has enough information to suit your purpose, and …  Design If the information is well organized and free of errors then . . . IT HAS CREDIBILITY = A RELIABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION!
  12. 12. Searching Tip To search within a specific top-level website domain like .org, .edu, .gov, type your topic/search term and then add “site:.gov” or “site:.edu” after your topic. Examples: global warming site:.gov dietary supplements site:.edu
  13. 13. Work Cited Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.