| When finding information on the World Wide Web, it is important
to evaluate a Web site in order
to determine whether it is a credible, reliable source to use for
research purposes. You can evaluate the quality of a Web site by asking
yourself the following questions:
1. Purpose & Content
What type of site is this? (i.e., commercial
military (.mil), other?)
What is the purpose of this site? (i.e., to inform, to entertain,
to advertise, other?)
What kind of information is the site
providing? Is the information presented objective or biased?
Who created this page? Does the site even indicate who the author is?
What are the author's
qualifications or area(s) of expertise?
Is there a link to a
"Mission Statement" or an
"About Our Organization" page? The information provided on such pages can
indicate to you what side of an issue a particular organization is on, or help you to
understand a company's values and principles, for example.
Is there contact information
available from the site? Sometimes contacting
someone directly, whether by phone or by email, is the best way to get specific information
you may need, or to get recommendations for other resources you might consult to get
When was the site last updated or revised? (Most important for topics
that are subject to change frequently.) Is the site well-maintained,
or are there many broken links, errors, etc.?
A quality site will be well-maintained
and updated as necessary.
site well-organized and easy to use? Can you find the information
you need? Is the site slow to load or difficult to read? Sites that are not well-designed
or organized my not be worth your time spent using them for research purposes, and, futhermore,
may be unreliable resources.
Libraries often link to quality Web sites from their home pages. For
example, the Loyola/Notre Dame Library links to Web sites from the
Guides, as well as on the
"Suggested Internet Sites" page. Another good source of quality Web sites
is Librarians' Index to the Internet.
These Web sites generally have already been evaluated by a librarian
and selected as being good sources for particular subject areas or
research needs. So, in a sense, the evaluative work has already been
done for you. You can freely use these Web sites knowing that they
are reliable sources. Still, you should evaluate even these sites
to determine whether they are appropriate for your specific purpose.