Evaluating Web Sites

Web Sites Myths
Library Materials
Checklist to Evaluate Web Sites
Practice Exercise
 
 
 
 

Checklist to Evaluate Web Sites
  • Purpose

    Identify what is the purpose of the Web site/page.

    Web sites can be:

    Entertainment

    http://www2.warnerbros.com/main/homepage/homepage.html

    Business/Marketing/Commercial
    http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette/
    http://www.networksolutions.com

    Reference/Informational
    http://www.infoplease.com/

    Educational
    http://www.drunkdriving-california.net/

    News
    http://www.latimes.com/
    http://www.bbc.com

    Advocacy
    http://nra.org/
    http://www.saferoads.org

    Personal Page
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/

    What does the URL says about the purpose of the web site?

    .com = business/marketing, e-commerce
    .mil = military site
    .edu = academic, colleges/universities
    .gov = U.S. government produced
    .net = network
    .org = organization, may be charitable, religious or a lobbying group
    ~ (tilde) indicates personal Web page
     
  • Goals
    Are the goals of the Web site clearly stated?
    Example:
    Pew Research Institute

     
  • Objectivity
    Is the Web site biased or objective?
    Examples:
    Pro-Life Movement
    Pro-Choice Movement

     
  • Coverage
    Is the topic covered in depth or briefly?
    Are quality links to other useful sites included?
     
  • Authority
    Is the author’s name or the organization’s name listed?
    Do authors list their professional affiliation, credentials, or degrees?
    Does he/she have sufficient authority to speak on the subject?
    Is there any way to reach the author?
    If an organization is listed, is it well-known and reputable?
    Example:
    Smart Voter

     
  • Appropriateness and Relevance
    Is the content of the page appropriate for your assignment?
    Is the content accurate, complete and well-written?
    Is the content relevant to your topic or question?
     
  • Sources
    Does the Web site list where the information was obtained?
    Example:
    Internet Time Line
     
  • Accuracy
    Is the information correct, or is the information verified by an editor(s) or a fact checker (most Web sites are not)?

    Verify the facts with other sources such as authoritative books, periodicals, or with an instructor or librarian.
     
  • Currency
    Are the creation date and revision dates listed?
    Example
    : Elections 2012 subject guide from the Rio Hondo College Library Web site
     
  • Accessibility
    Does the site load quickly?
    Can you navigate the site easily?
    Is there a text-only alternative for the visually-impaired?
     
  • Clarity
    Is the information clearly  presented?
    Are the pages well organized?
    Are there mistakes in spelling or grammar?
    Is the text legible and formatted for easy reading

    Hoaxes
    A hoax is a deliberate attempt to deceive or trick an audience into believing, or accepting, that something is real, when the hoaxster knows it is not; or that something is true, when it is false. (Wikipedia)

    To verify the authenticity of the site you may have to go through several layers of the site to find "About" or "Contact Us" information.
    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/
    http://www.snopes.com/
    http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/sep00/piper.htm