Evaluating Web Sites
Rio Hondo College Library

Agenda
Evaluating Web sites for research Assignments
Practice exercise

Introduction
The need to evaluate Web sites:
Anyone can publish Web sites
No one screens or reviews Web sites
Buyer (or reader) beware environment
Criteria are necessary to assess Web sites

Why Evaluate Web Sites?
TO SELECT INFORMATION THAT IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS

Web Sites and
“Buyer Beware”
The Web is an unfiltered environment
Web sites can be produced by anyone
A Web site can be:
Misinformation
Hoaxes
Scams (get rich quick)
Urban myths
Biased
Many are not reviewed by fact checkers or editors

Library Materials
Selected by librarians through:
Reviews
Knowledge of the topic
Knowledge of the author
Knowledge of the publisher
Requests from faculty teaching courses
Selected to support courses at Rio Hondo College

Checklist to Evaluate Web Sites
Types
Goals
Objectivity
Coverage
Author
Sources
Accuracy
Currency

Types
Examine the content and identify the type of Web site:
Entertainment
Business/Marketing
Reference/Informational
News
Advocacy
Personal Page

Most Common Types of
Web Sites Defined By Purpose
.com = business/marketing, e-commerce
.edu = academic, colleges/universities
.gov = U.S. government produced
.net = network
.org = advocacy groups or informational
~ indicates personal Web page

Goals
Are the goals of the Web site clearly stated?
Example:  EARTHWATCH Institute

Objectivity
Is the Web site biased or objective?
Example:  Pro-Life Movement

Coverage
Is the topic covered in depth or briefly?
Are quality links to other useful sites included?

Author
Is the author’s name or the organization’s name listed?
Do authors list their professional affiliation, credentials, or degrees?
If an organization is listed, is it well-known and reputable?
Example: Democracy Net

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)? Pew Research Center is a Web site that has editors to verify information.
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 Terrorism subject guide from the Rio Hondo College Library Web site

What’s Next?
Review the checklist
Complete the practice exercise