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Houff Library

Evaluation of Web Resources

Evaluation Criteria

1. Authority

Who is responsible for the web site on which the web page resides?

Are there any clues on the web page about the larger site? Look for a logo or icon that may be a link to the main web site.

What is the background of the author of the web site?

Is the author an expert in the field, a student or an organization? Has the author provided any information about herself and her qualifications? Use search engines to try and find additional information about the author's credentials. What is the focus or purpose of the organization? Look for any links to a description of the organization. Is there a way to contact the organization, company or person responsible for the contents of the site? Is the name of the copyright holder given? Is the web site an educational site (.edu), a commercial site (.com), a nonprofit organization (.org) or a government site (.gov)? Does the site list any recommendations or ratings
from outside sources?

Link checking – most search engines allow you to type link: URL (the URL of the page you're browsing) to find out what other sites link to the one you're examining. This can
help you determine how well thought of a site is.


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2. Purpose and Objectivity

Why has this information been posted and how objective is it?

Is the point of view of the person or organization obvious? If there is advertising on the page, is it clear what relationship exists between the author of the material and the advertiser?

Is the purpose of the web site to inform or to broadcast an opinion? What audience is this web site trying to reach?


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3. Content and coverage

How comprehensive is the web site?

Is there a large amount of information available or does the web site consist primarily of links to other web pages? Is the information presented on the page consistent with your
knowledge of the topic?

How accurate is the content of the page?

Is the page free of grammatical and spelling errors? Are sources provided for facts so the information can be verified?

Are references or bibliographies posted on the page?

Is the source of the information stated or is a list of resources on the topic provided?


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4. Currency

How current is the information?

Web pages should state the date when they were created or updated. Are the links working and current? Does it state that it is an archival page?


Evaluation Exercises using the Web Evaluation Checklist

Types of web pages

Advocacy - The primary purpose of this type of page is to influence public opinion. A single person or a group may be responsible for the page. The URL will often end with .org.
Examples of advocacy pages include the National Right to Life Committee and the Democratic Party web pages.

Business - The primary purpose of a commercial page is to promote or sell products or services. The URL will most often end with .com. Examples include Amazon
and the Dell Computer web sites.

Entertainment - The primary purpose of an entertainment page is to provide amusement and enjoyment. The URL may have a variety of endings. An example is the Mentos FAQ

Informational - The primary purpose of an informational page is providing factual information like census data, research reports or a calendar of events. Information is found on
many different types of web pages so the URL could have a variety of endings. Examples include the Library of Congress Country Studies and
the Los Straightjackets Tour Dates Web Site.

News - The primary purpose of a news page is to provide current information on regional, state and national events. The URL will often end in .com. Examples include the New York
web site and the USA Today web site.

Personal - Personal pages are diverse and may be devoted to a hobby or favorite activity. The URL will have a variety of endings. An example is Jenny from the Blog personal page.