School Library: Evaluating Websites
Who is the author? What are their credentials? Are they a qualified expert on the topic at hand?
Who is the intended audience? Look up the organization to get a feel for their motivation. Is the page associated with an institution or company? What is the purpose of the page?
Is the writing professional? Are there spelling or grammatical errors? Can you verify the information elsewhere? Is the information relevant for your topic?
When was this page published and when was it last updated? For your topic, is this relevant?
The Internet has come a long way in a short period of time, and has evolved almost beyond recognition. It is no longer valid nor recommended to judge the credibility of a site based solely on its type of domain (the 3 letters that come at the end of a URL after the last ".")
.com still means "commercial," but commercial does not mean invalid, for example: History.com is an accurate, reliable, and credible site, while being commercial in nature
.edu is the top level domain for university sites, yet the qualifications to register as a .edu have not always been in force, nor equally enforced. Some .edu sites that were registered before requirements were streamlined have been grandfathered in, and may not meet the current requirements of being an accredited institution of higher education
.org websites used to be considered a reliable sites due to their nonprofit nature and the general good repute of non-profits. However, in this information age, any group with any agenda can achieve non-profit status and therefore, .orgs cannot be trusted based on their domain
What all this means is that you are much better off evaluating each site based on the criteria listed above.
- Authorship, Recency, Motivation, Accuracy
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