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Evaluating Resources

Established by the first ALSC Children and Technology Committee, 1997

How to Tell if You Are Looking at a Great Web Site

The Web is a lot like a flea market: there’s a vast selection of sites to choose from but not a lot of order to it. Some sites are offered by reputable “dealers” and some from individuals who want to show off their personal favorite items. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s a hidden treasure, what’s worth taking a look at, and what’s a waste of time.

It’s not hard to find sites if you use a search engine like Hotbot, or a subject directory like Yahoo (or Yahooligansfor kids). But how can you tell if a site you find is worthwhile?

Sometimes what is in a Web site’s address can indicate the nature of the site. Sites from commercial businesses usually include “.com”; federal government sites end in “.gov,” K-12 school sites often include “k12” in the address, and college and university sites often include “.edu.” Sites from non-profit organizations often include “.org.” A site with a tilde (~) in the address usually indicates that this page is maintained or created by an individual, rather than representing an organization, a business, or a school.

Children’s librarians evaluate books, magazines, tapes, and software for children to find the best of all. Web sites are no exception. On this page, we have collected some excellent sites for young people. "Children" are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen and Web sites for this entire age range are considered. We will share with you what we look for in a great Web site.