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Axe Reference Dept.

Reference desk
tel: 620-235-4894

Robert Lindsey
tel: 620-235-4887

Barbara Pope
tel: 620-235-4884

Evaluation of Internet Resources

Internet resources provide current and valuable information on a variety of subjects. However, information available via the Internet can be misleading, biased, deliberately fraudulent, outdated, or erroneous. It is very important to develop critical skills on how to evaluate these resources rather than having a blind faith in any information provided by the Internet. The following are suggested CRITERIA to consider for evaluating Internet resources.

  • Authority
    • Key Questions
      1. Is there an author/producer of the site?
      2. What are the credentials of the author/producer? Is he/she an expert in his/her field?
      3. Is contact information such as the e-mail address of the author/producer included?
    • Finding Answers
      1. Check biographical sources for information on the author/producer, or ask a subject expert to find out if the author/producer is recognized by his/her peers.
      2. Read through Web pages to see if there is an e-mail address.
      3. View "Document Info" or "Page Info" of Web pages (Open box).
  • Audience
    • Key Questions
      1. Is there a stated intent of the site? Does it meet the needs of the intended audience?
      2. What is the coverage of the site? Is the content appropriate?
    • Finding Answers
      1. Check the introduction of the site to find the purpose and motivation for the information.
      2. Read through the site and use your own judgment, or ask a subject expert to review the information.
  • Reliability
    • Key Questions
      1. How accurate and reliable is the information provided?
      2. Are references, citations or links to other resources included?
      3. Is there a bias or commercial interest?
      4. Does the author/producer have the authority to provide information in that field?
    • Finding Answers
      1. Compare the information found from the Net with print sources if possible.
      2. Check biographical sources or critiques to get other opinions.
      3. Read slanted information with critical eyes.
      4. Look at the URL to determine what type of organization produced the site.
  • Timeliness
    • Key Questions
      1. When was the site created and when was it last updated?
      2. Is the information provided current, or is it for historical purposes?
    • Finding Answers
      1. Read through the site to find the dates of when the site was produced and when it was last updated.
      2. Read through the content of the site and use your own judgment.