|Jim Nance, Public Service Librarian at the Paul Meek Library, University of Tennessee at Martin and Alice-Catherine Carls, Professor of History, University of Tennessee at Martin put this page together to help you evaluate web information, as well as selected a few web sites that will give you a more in-depth look at the issues and concerns of authority and accuracy on the web.
Questions to ask.
1. What is the scope of the site.
What is included as well as what is not included
Are links provided to other sites? (and if so are they useful?)
How is the site organized? How many "levels of navigation" does it have?
How easy/difficult is the site to navigate?
2. Who are the sites authors? (person, institution)
Can you tell who the author(s) is (are)?
Do they list their credentials? Educational backgrounds?
Are they experienced in their fields?
Are the authors cited by others?
What is the site's institutional affiliation?
3. What category does the site fit in (what type of information are you getting from that site)?
Archival documents, including pictures
4. What is its focus: American, non-Western, etc., time-period or general
5. Rate the information contained in the site:
Are the facts and information presented accurate?
How is the information documented?
Is the information current?
Is the information biased?
Are criteria listed for including information?
Does the site appear to be well researched?
How does the information compare with other sources that are available on the topic.
6. Rate the site:
Is the information or site stable through time?
When was the information last updated?
Does the site list any awards that they have received?
7. How does this site relate to the course you are currently taking? How helpful/not helpful is it? Would you recommend it to other students?
8. Write a brief narrative summary of the site. What courses and kinds of research would this site be most useful for?
Remember, the goal of this assignment is to develop a bibliography that students will find truly useful!
Several other sites to find even more information:
•How to critically analyze information sources by Joan Ormondroyd, Michael Engle, and Tony Cosgrove of the Reference Services Division at Cornell University Library.
•Evaluating quality on the Net by Hope Tillman, Director of Libraries, Babson College.
•Beyond cruising: reviewing by Boyd R. Collins.
Web Review Tools
Argus Clearinghouse rates, reviews sites, and lists: http://www.clearinghouse.net
Magellan checks reviewed sites only. It reviews, describes, and rates, giving from one to four stars: http://www.mckinley.com
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