Criteria for Evaluating The Web
of Web Documents
to Interpret The Basics
Accuracy of Web Documents
wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
this person qualified to write this document?
sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.
the distinction between author and Webmaster.
Authority of Web Documents
published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster"?
the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document?
credentials are listed for the author(s)?
is the document published? Check URL domain.
Objectivity of Web Documents
goals/objectives does this page meet?
detailed is the information?
opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be
any Web page as you would an infommercial on television. Ask yourself
why was this written and for whom?
Currency of Web Documents
was it produced?
was it updated?
up-to-date are the links (if any)?
many dead links are on the page?
the links current or updated regularly?
the information on the page outdated?
Coverage of the Web Documents
the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents
it all images or a balance of text and images?
the information presented cited correctly?
page requires special software to view the information, how much
are you missing if you donít have the software?
it free, or is there a fee, to obtain the information?
there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser
for better viewing?
It All Together
If the page lists the author and institution that published the
page and provides a way of contacting him/her, and . . .
If the page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred
(.edu, .gov, .org, or .net), and . . .
If the page provides accurate information with limited advertising
and it is objective in presenting the information, and . . .
If the page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the
page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and . . .
If information can be viewed properly--not limited to fees, browser
technology, or software requirement, then . . .
may have a quality Web site that could be of value to your research!
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.