State University Ely Library
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:
or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources*
For original source, see http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html
||Accuracy | Authority
| Objectivity | Currency
| Coverage ||
Is the information reliable and error-free?
Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information?
Anyone can publish anything on the Web
Unlike traditional print resources, web resources rarely have editors or
Currently, no web standards exist to ensure accuracy
Is there an author? Is the page signed?
Is the author qualified? An expert?
Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor?
Is the sponsor of the page reputable? How reputable?
If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there
any other way to determine its origin?
Look for a header or footer showing affiliation.
Look at the URL. http://www.fbi.gov
Look at the domain. .edu, .com, .ac.uk, .org, .net
See number 1 above
It's often hard to determine a web page's authorship
Even if a page is signed, qualifications aren't usually given
Sponsorship isn't usually indicated
Does the information show a minimum of bias?
Is the page designed to sway opinion?
Is there any advertising on the page?
Frequently the goals of the sponsors/authors aren't clearly stated.
Often the Web serves as a virtual "Hyde Park Corner", a soapbox.
Is the page dated?
If so, when was the last update?
How current are the links? Have some expired or moved?
Publication or revision dates not always provided.
If a date is provided, it may have various meanings. For example,
It may indicate when the material was first written
It may indicate when the material was first placed on the
It may indicate when the material was last revised
What topics are covered?
What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?
What is its intrinsic value?
How in-depth is the material?
Web coverage often differs from print coverage
Frequently, it's difficult to determine the extent of coverage
Sometimes web information is just-for-fun or outright silliness
*Revised version of web site
originally created by Susan E. Beck, Instruction Coordinator New Mexico
State University Library. Original (see below) created in July, 1997 for
the Institute for Technology-Assisted Learning, at the New Mexico State
Beck, Susan. "Evaluation Criteria." The
Good, The Bad & The Ugly: or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web
Sources. 1997. http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html
Back to top
Page maintained by Corinne
Last checked June 20, 2006