Evaluation of Web documents How to interpret the basics
Adapted from: Jim Kapoun Teaching Undergrads Web Evaluation: a Guide for Library Instruction (BROKEN). College and Research Libraries News 59, no. 7 (July/August 1998).
Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her? Was it published in a book or anthology?
What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced? Was the purpose to inform or to advertise or to promote a product?
Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.
Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.
Who published the document? Is it a 13 year old who is interested in finding a cure for cancer or a doctor who is doing state-of-the-art research.
Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document? Does a University server host the content or an ISP?
What credentials are listed for the author(s)? An expert in the field (a scholar) or just someone who is interested in the topic
Check URL domain.
Is the information biased?
Are they trying to sell a product or service?
What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television.
Who is the audience?
ex: If this is information about the health hazards of sweeteners, would you trust the Splenda web site or Health Canada or the FDA?
Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the document's theme?
Is the information presented accurate?
If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?
Is it a free site?
Is it accessible through any web browser?
Is there a text only version to the site?
Are there ALT tags for images?