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Evaluating Websites: Evaluating Websites

Evaluation Rules of Thumb

  • Do not assume that because something has been published in a book, periodical, or website that it is a reputable, reliable source.
  • You must make a deliberate decision about the relevance and quality of the information especially if you are evaluating an Internet site. 

 

Responsibility

Who published the site?

Look at the domain name of the website to learn who is hosting the site. For instance, the Lee College Library website is: http://www.lee.edu/library/. The domain name is “lee.edu”. That tells you that the library’s website is hosted by Lee College. Do a search on the domain name at http://www.whois.sc/. This site provides information about the owners of registered domain names. 

Quality

What is the quality of information provided on the website?

  • Timelines: When was the website first published? Is it regularly updated?
  • Citations: Websites that cite their sources are considered more reliable.
  • Links on the site: Are links on the site to reputable sites?

 

Evaluating Websites

Remember the following

  1. Authority
  2. Responsibility
  3. Purpose
  4. Quality
  5. Evaluate

Authority

Who authored (wrote) the site?

  • Look for an “About” or “More about the Author” link at the top, bottom or sidebar of the web page.
  • Some pages will have a corporate author rather than a single person as an author.

If no information about author(s) of the page is provided, be suspicious. 

Purpose

What is the main purpose of the site? Why did the author write it and the publisher post it?
Is it.....

  • to sell a product?
  • as a personal hobby?
  • as a public service?
  • to further scholarship on a topic?
  • to provide general information on a topic?
  • to persuade you of a particular point of view?

 

Evaluate

How does it all add up?

  • Compare the information you’ve gathered about your website to your information needs. Does this website provide an appropriateness of fit (not all websites will work for all purposes). A website that is fine for finding general information on a disease may not work for a nursing student’s paper.
  • If you are in doubt, ask your instructor or a librarian for help.

Subject Guide

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Will Mayer
Contact:
832.556.4512

Domain Names

Do you know what each domain means?

.GOV= government

.ORG= organization

.COM= commercial

.CO= company, commercial

.EDU= higher education

.BIZ= business

.MIL= military

.NET= network