How to Evaluate Web Sites
Since just about anyone can put information on the Internet, it's important to carefully
evaluate information that you find online.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when examining a web page.
And remember the old adage that if something sounds too good to be true - it probably
- Who wrote it?
- Are the authors known authorities on the topic? Are their credentials
provided? Is there an address where you can contact them to
learn more about their credentials? Do you reach their page by
linking from an authoritative source?
- Who put it on Web?
- Is there a header/footer or logo on the page indicating that
it is originating from a reliable institution or
organization, such as a scholarly web site, an
academic institution, a reliable news service or a
respected organization? Personal web sites should be
regarded with caution since their creators are not
responsible to an employer or higher authority for their
- Does the information come from a biased source?
- Look at the URL (in the "Address Bar") and any
available data about the author and/or the
organization responsible for publishing the
information on the Web. Does the information come from an
organization or individual trying to sell or promote a
particular product or influence your political or
- Are the facts accurate/verifiable?
- Is the background information used to support statements easy
to verify? Are the methods of information gathering
clearly explained for studies and surveys?
- How current is this information?
- Is there a date of publication or copyright date? Is there a
date when the web page was last updated or does the
home page of the whole site list a date when the site
was last updated?
Avoiding Online Scams
While sometimes providing convenient ways of doing business, the Internet also offers another venue for fradulent business practices.
For more information about ways to avoid Internet fraud, check out the National
Consumer League's National Fraud Information Center & Internet Fraud Watch
web site at:
Call them at 1-800-876-7060 if you suspect an online business of fraud.
This information was compiled by the Reference Department staff of the Clearwater Public Library.