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Web Evaluation Tips

When you find information on the web, you have to be especially careful about evaluating it--checking to see if it's reliable and usable for your school work.

Here's a quick tip guide for evaluating any information resource, especially web resources.  

  Currency:

When was this site last updated?  Look at a few documents on the page—can you tell when they were written?

How important is this to you and/or your topic?

  Relevance:

What is this site about? Is it easy to tell?  What is the scope of coverage (broad, narrow, etc.)

Who do you think is the audience for this info?

  Authority:

What person or organization is responsible for this content?  What are his/hers/their credentials?

What makes the author(s) an authority on this subject?

  Accuracy:

Is the information on the page supported by evidence of some kind? Does it include references to sources?  

Are there spelling, typographical, or grammatical errors?

  Purpose:

Who is the intended audience for this information? Is the site selling something, like a product or an idea?

Look for the About page of the site or a mission statement to help evaluate its purpose.

Ways to limit searches:

site:edu ==> educational institutions

site:org ==> nonprofit organizations (e.g., museums, historical societies, PBS sites)

site:gov ==> government sites (e.g., National Archives, Library of Congress, museums)

Finding Web Information

Searching for information on the web efficiently requires developing a search strategy. Is the information sought very specific? If so,  a search engine is the best search tool to use with keywords to describe the exact information need. Unsure or looking for more general information on a topic?  Start with a subject directory and search broad topics. Many specialized databases and search tools are also available on the web.

Recommended Web Resources

Digital Scores

Library & Learning Resources, City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112 (415) 452-5541