Evaluating Resources

Talk to a Librarian for a "best fit" evaluation tool.

Use one of the evaluation tools available at the library!

Before using information, ask yourself these questions:

Is the information relevant? How will I record it? How will I give credit to the source?

Consider the source:

  • Who is the author? What are the author's credentials? Is this the author's original work or is it derived from other sources?

Consider the content:

  • Is the information accurate? Is it verifiable? Is it truly relevant? Are there spelling and grammatical errors?

Consider the currency:

  • When was the information published? When was it created or updated on the Web?

Consider the purpose, affiliation and bias:

  • Who is the intended audience? What is the purpose?
  • If Web-based, is the page associated with a company, university, government agency or other organization?
  • Have you ever heard of the organization? It is it well respected and reliable?
  • Does the author's affiliation with the organization appear to bias the information?

This mini-guide to common URLs, or endings of domain names can help you judge the validity of the information and potential bias of a website:

.com = commercial sites

.gov = U.S. government

.org = organization, often nonprofit (Note: some have strong bias and agendas)

.edu = school or university site (Note: the author may be a student or a scholar)

.store = retail business

.int = international institution

.mil = U.S. military site

.net = networked service provider, Internet administrative site

.museum = museum

.name = individual internet user

.pro = professional's site

Be suspicious of personal sites. They are not endorsed by the institution on whose server they reside. For example, a college student may post a personal website on their college's site.

Note: People can easily purchase domains that do not reflect their actual purpose.

SOURCE: Adapted with permission from Joyce Kasman Valenza. PowerTools Recharged