Evaluation Criteria for Web Sites


Accuracy is important because:

  1. Anyone can publish anything on the web.
  2. Unlike traditional print resources, web resources rarely have editors or fact-checkers.
  3. Currently, no web standards exist to ensure accuracy.

Use the following questions to evaluate accuracy:

  • Is the information reliable?
  • Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information?



Authority is important because:

  1. See number 1 above.
  2. It's often hard to determine a Web page's authorship.
  3. Even if a page is signed, qualifications aren't usually given.
  4. Sponsorship isn't usually indicated.

Use the following questions to evaluate authority:

  • Is there an author? Is the page signed?
  • Is the author qualified? An expert?
  • Who is the sponsor? Is the sponsor of the page reputable? How reputable?
  • Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor?
  • 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; and/or, look at the domain. .edu, .com,.org,)



Objectivity is important because:

  1. Frequently the goals of the sponsors/authors aren't clearly stated.
  2. Often the Web serves as a virtual "soapbox," for a person or organization with a specific social, personal, or political agenda.

Use the following questions to evaluate objectivity:

  • Does the information show a minimum of bias?
  • Is the page designed to sway opinion?
  • Is there any advertising on the page?



Currency is important because:

  1. The publication or revision dates are not always provided
  2. 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 Web; or it may indicate when the material was last revised.

Use the following questions to evaluate currency:

  • Is the page dated?
  • If so, when was the last update?
  • How current are the links? Have some expired or moved?



Coverage is important because:

  1. Web coverage often differs from print coverage
  2. Frequently, it's difficult to determine the extent of coverage
  3. Sometimes web information is just for fun or outright silliness

Use the following questions to evaluate coverage:

  • 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?