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Blake Library

Evaluating Web Sites

Five criteria for evaluating Web pages
(Kapoun, 1998)

Evaluation of Web documents

  1. Accuracy of Web Documents
    • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
    • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
    • Is this person qualified to write this document?
      [Interpretation] Accuracy:
      • Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.
      • Know the distinction between author and webmaster.
  2. Authority of Web Documents
    • Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?"
    • Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document?
    • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?
      [Interpretation] Authority:
      • What credentials are listed for the author(s)?
      • Where is the document published? Check URL domain.
  3. Objectivity of Web Documents
    • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
    • How detailed is the information?
    • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?
      [Interpretation] Objectivity:
      • Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be biased.
      • View any Web page as you would an infomercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?
  4. Currency of Web Documents
    • When was it produced?
    • When was it updated?
    • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?
      [Interpretation] Currency:
      • How many dead links are on the page?
      • Are the links current or updated regularly?
      • Is the information on the page outdated?
  5. Coverage of the Web Documents
    • Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents' theme?
    • Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
    • Is the information presented cited correctly?
      [Interpretation] Coverage:
      • If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?
      • Is it free, or is there a fee, to obtain the information?
      • Is there as option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?

Kapoun, Jim (1998). Teaching undergrad's WEB evaluation. College & Research
      Libraries news, 59, 522-523.

Sample web sites and evaluation questions