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English 96, Swigart: Open Web

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 appropriate for academic work.

Here's a quick tip guide for evaluating content on the web.  Bear in mind that everything on list always applies, but the C.A.R.D.I.O. assessment is a good first step.


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?


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?


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?

      Depth & Documentation:

Any references, footnotes/endnotes, or links to other sites/pages?  Do the links work?  How “deep” is this info?  

Is it appropriate for a research paper, or more suited to a consumer?

      Information Type:

Is this primary information? Is it the first presentation of this material?

Is this secondary information? Has the information been reviewed or changed in some way from the original?

Is the material factual or analytical, objective or subjective? Leading us to the last ….


Does this site appear to be objective, or does it contain a bias?  Is the site selling something, like a produce or an idea?

Be sure you understand the point of view of the author or organization behind the page.

Source Evaluation Presentation

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