Evaluation Criteria for Internet Resources
Information on the Internet exists in large quantities, and continuously grows and changes at an alarming rate. Website types (e.g., facts, instructions, opinions, stories, statistics) and purposes (to inform, to teach, to persuade, to sell) are overwhelmingly numerous, and quality and reliability also exist at a variety of levels. It ranges from the very bad to the very good, as well as every shade in between. Here are a few suggestions on how to evaluate Internet content:
Authorship: Is the author identified? What are the author’s credentials? For example, does the site include the author's position and institutional affiliation? Is the organization the author represent an educational institution (sites ending with .edu) or government agency (sites ending with .gov).
Accuracy: Can the data be verified from other sources? Does the author have an obvious bias?
Audience: Is the site intended for scholars or professionals, for lay people, or for students?
Currency: Does the Web site include the date it was created and/or updated? Are the links current?
Coverage: Does the site state its intended scope? Is it designed to cover an entire subject, or to give detailed information on one aspect?
Relative Value: How does it compare to other sources of similar information? Are there other more accurate or complete sources - possibly in print format? Does it have a lot of ads and/or pop-ups?