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Evaluating The Web

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Five Criteria for Evaluating The Web
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?
Accuracy
  • 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?
Authority
  • 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?
Objectivity
  • 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)?
Currency
  • 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  • Is the information on the page outdated?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?
Coverage
  • If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you donít 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 . . .

You may have a quality Web site that could be of value to your research!

Thanks to Jim Kapoun, reference and instruction librarian at Southwest State University, for the above chart which appeared in College and Research Libraries News July/August 1998:522-523.

 

 

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