Cerro Coso Community College

Library Books

Quick Guide to Evaluating a Webpage

WHO?

WHO created the page? Can you find and verify the author's qualifications, whether an individual or an organization?

  • Look for "About the author/About us" links for the author's name and contact info.
  • Verify credentials in another source, e.g. journal, encyclopedia, directory, or try Googling the author's or organization's name.
  • Look for a link to the home page of the Web site where the document lives.
  • Look at the parts of the URL/address to find organizational affiliation.

WHAT?

WHAT is the page/site about? Does it have the kind of information you need?

  • Look at the browser title bar, document title, content & links.
  • Are there lots of advertisements trying to sell you something?

WHERE?

WHERE is the information coming from?

  • Look at the address or URL
  • .edu=educational, .com=commercial, .org=organization, .gov=government, two-letter country codes (.jp, .ca, .uk)

WHY?

WHY is this site on the Web and how does it affect the information?

  • Look at "About us/Mission/Purpose", links, content, and advertising.
  • Determine the purpose of the site
    • Advocacy or "soapbox" (tries to persuade)
    • Informational (often has multiple viewpoints or references)
    • Business or marketing (tries to sell)
    • Entertainment
  • Choose sites whose purposes are compatible with your information needs.

WHEN?

WHEN was the page or information created? Is the date important for the timeliness of the content?

  • Look for dates. (Publication or copy-right date); Last modified or updated; Date statistics gathered or published?

HOW?

HOW accurate or credible is the page?

  • Examine references and bibliographies.
  • Verify information in another reputable source (e.g. encyclopedia, journal, book, other Web site).
  • If you notice many errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc., question the accuracy of other information.
Kern Community College District