Not all of the information to be found on the World Wide Web is accurate and not all websites, no matter how attractive, are good. When evaluating a website, consider the following questions:
Who wrote the pages?
What does the author have to say about the subject?
Does the author have the authority to present this information?
Does the author/publishing organization have anything to gain by presenting this information?
When was the site created and updated?
Where does the site's information come from?
Is the information consistent with other published material on the topic?
Why it the site useful or important?
Can the information be verified in book, periodical or other sources?

Consider the following criteria:



(substance, depth, uniqueness, accuracy, currency)

(institutional affiliation, developer credentials)




Special Features

(easily grasped, logical, clearly divided)

(consistent, speedy availability, text-based alternative pages.

(Who is the publisher?)

Site Search Engine
(clear instructions on usage, Boolean capabilities,
keyword searching, frequent index updates,
speed, well-formated output)

Fact or Opinion?

In reading nonfiction, it is important to distinguish between fact and opinion. To test whether or not a statement is a fact, ask these questions:

Can it be proved or demonstrated to be true?
Can it be observed in practice or operation?
Can it be verified by witnesses, manuscripts, or documents?

This does not mean that opinions should be discounted. On the contrary, sound opinions based upon logic, research and study, and experience are very valuable. However, to be an alert reader, one needs to know where fact ends and opinion begins.

If more information is needed to evaluate a site, consider e-mailing the author of the site for more information. Good web sites will give the name and e-mail address of a contact person somewhere on the site.

A very useful table explaining criteria for website evaluation was created by Jim Kapoun, reference and instruction librarian at Southwest State University, and published in College and Research Libraries News. (July/August, 1998):522-523.

Five criteria for evaluating Web pages
Evaluation of Web documents
How to interpret the basics
1. Accuracy of Web Documents
  • 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 a contact address/phone number.
  • Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.
2. Authority of Web Documents
  • 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 author(s)?
  • Where is the document published? Check URL domain.
3. Objectivity of Web Documents
  • 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 infommercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?
4. Currency of Web Documents
  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
  • How many dead links are on the page?
  • Are the links current or updated regularly?
  • Is the information on the page outdated?
5. Coverage of the Web Documents
  • 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 frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?
Putting it all together
  • Accuracy. If the page lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her, and . . .
  • Authority. If the page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net), and . . .
  • Objectivity. If the page provides accurate information with limited advertising and it is objective in presenting the information, and . . .
  • Currency. If the page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and . . .
  • Coverage. If information can be viewed properly--not limited to fees, browser technology, or software requirement, then . . .

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Web Articles on Evaluation:

The ABC's of Web Site Evaluation
Anyone Can (and Probably Will) Put Anything on the Internet
Ascertaining Information Quality
Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources
Can You Trust the Web?
Critical Evaluation Information (Kathy Schrock)
Criteria for Evaluation of Internet Information Resources
Criteria for Evaluating Web Sites
Critical Evaluation of Resources on the Internet
Critical Evaluation Surveys
CyberGuide Ratings
Dangerous Data Ahead: A Searcher?s Look at the Age of Misinformation to Come
Don't Believe Everything You Read: Ideas for Reading Critically
Ed's Oasis-Evaluation Center
Evaluation of Internet Resources
Evaluation of Web Activity
(Maricopa) Evaluation Rubrics for Websites
Evaluating and Citing Internet Resources
Evaluating Electronic Resources
Evaluating Information Found on the Internet
Evaluating Information Sources: Applying Critical Standards to the Internet
Evaluating Internet Based Information
Evaluating Internet Research Sources
Evaluating Internet Resources
Evaluating Internet Resources (Trudi Jacobson/Laura Cohen)
Evaluating Internet Resources (Richard Terrass)
Evaluating Internet Resources (Virginia Polytechnic Institute)
Evaluating Internet Resources: A Checklist
Evaluating Internet Resources: A Checklist for Librarians and Teachers
Evaluating Internet Resources: A Checklist for Students
Evaluating Internet Resources by Wilfred Drew
Evaluating Internet Sites
Evaluating Internet-based Information: A Goals-based Approach
Evaluating Quality
Evaluating Quality on the Net
Evaluating Scholarly/Information Sites on the Web
Evaluating Sources of Information (San Diego State University)
Evaluating the Documents You Have Found on the World Wide Web
Evaluating Web Pages: Links to Examples of Various Concepts
Evaluating Web Resources (Widener University)
Evaluating Web Resources
Evaluating Web Sites: Criteria and Tools
Evaluating Web Sites for Educational Uses
Evaluating World Wide Web Sites
Evaluation of Information Sources (A. Smith, Victoria University, NZ)
Evaluation of World Wide Web Resources
Finding and Evaluating Information
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Why it's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources
Guide for Evaluating a Web Page (Indiana University)
Hoax? Scholarly Research? Personal Opinion? You Decide!
How to Critically Analyze Information Sources
ICYouSee: T is for Thinking
Internet Detective (online tutorial)
Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators
Library Selection Criteria for WWW Resources
Lies, Damned Lies, & Web Pages
Please Evaluate This Web Site
Publishers Wanted, No Experience Necessary: Information Quality on the Web
Putting the Squeeze on the Information Firehose
Quality of Information and Disinformation Online
QUICK: The Quality Information Checklist
Readings & Resources on Web Evaluation
The Real Computer virus: Misinformation
Resource Selection and Information Evaluation
Review of Web Evaluation Sites
Some Examples of Sites That Illustrate Evaluation Issues
Teaching Critical Evaluation Skills for World Wide Web Resources
Teaching Students to Evaluate Web Sources More Critically
Teaching Undergrads Web Evaluation
Ten C's for Evaluating Internet Resources
Testing the Surf: Criteria for Evaluating Internet Information Resources (Alastair Smith)
Thinking Critically About Discipline-Based World Wide Web Resources (Esther Grassian)
Thinking Critically About World Wide Web Resources (Esther Grassian)
Using Cybersources
Web Page Evaluation Worksheet
The Web--Teaching Zack to Think
Who Dunnit: What Kind of Web Page Is This? Why We Need to Evaluate What We Find on the Web and How WWW CyberGuide Ratings for Content Evaluation
WWW Virtual Library: Information Quality
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