How to Evaluate the Dependability of Website Info

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How to Evaluate the Dependability of Website Info

The Internet contains both information and misinformation. Do not be duped into using inferior Web resources for your research. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you determine if the information you have found on the web is dependable. 

Purpose: Why is this page on the web? Look at the URL ending. For instance, a website ending in .com is probably attempting to sell you something. A site ending in .org may contain reliable information or it may not. Look closely to see if the information appears biased, is trying to sway your opinion, or persuade you to donate money. If the website ending is .gov or .edu, it is probably meant to provide information and is likely trustworthy. 

Author: Who wrote the information? Can you find the author's contact information on the site? How about his or her credentials? Is this person an expert on the subject? 

Sources:Is there a bibliography of the sources used by the author? Are they legitimate? Are there links on the page to other websites where you can cross check the accuracy of the information? Do the links work?

Timeliness:Can you tell when the information was written? Is the webpage updated regularly? Is the information presented still relevant or is it too old for your needs?

Finally, ask "Is this information better than I could find in a book, journal article, or other library resource?"

More complete information on evaluating websites can be found at:

http://www.ipl.org/IPL/Finding?Key=evaluation+of+internet+resources&collection=gen

If you cannot locate good information on the web, look elsewhere.

The books and periodicals in the library and the contents of its databases have been carefully chosen for their accuracy, authority, and relevance.

If you need help finding information on a topic, please do not hesitate to ask the library staff for assistance.

603-752-1113 X #3087 
wmcclibrary@ccsnh.edu 
or, use the contact us page