Evaluation of Web Documents
Evaluation of Web Documents
Realities of the Internet
Five criteria for evaluating Web- Accuracy-
Authority- Objectivity- Currency- Coverage
Evaluating Accuracy- 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 or present this
An accuracy check:- Make sure the author provides e-mail
or a contact address/phone number..- If there is no contact information that
should immediately raise suspicion.
Evaluating Authority- Who published the document?-
Check the domain of the document, what institution or organization is
responsible?- What credentials are listed for the authors?- Where is the
document published? Check URL domain.
Evaluating Objectivity- What goals/objectives does this
page meet?- How detailed is the information?- What opinions are
expressed by the author?- Determine if the page is a mask for
advertising.- Ask yourself: why was this written? For whom?
Evaluating Currency- When was it produced?- When was
it updated?- How up-to-date are the links?- Are the links current?-
Is the information on the page outdated?Evaluating Coverage- To the links
complement the document's theme?- Is it all images or a balance of
text/images?- Is the information presented cited correctly?- If is free?
Or is there a fee to obtain information?
Pulling It All Together- Accuracy: If the page lists the
author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting
him/her.- Authority: If the page lists the author' s credentials and its
domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, .net)- Currency: If the page is
current and updated regularly and links are up-to-date.
Quick Ways to Check- Who wrote the material? Is the
author identified or anonymous?- What authority or credentials do they
have?- What are their biases -- viewpoints?- Are there signs that anyone
has checked this work?
Consider the Source- After something has been put
online, has there been a reaction to it?- Can you find reaction?- When
evaluating how reliable a web page is, there are several aspects to consider
-credibility, authority, timeliness as well as coverage and objectivity.
Credibility- A general rule: Good data can be verified;
suspect or bad data cannot.- Here are some questions to consider:- What
can you tell from the web site about its accuracy and credibility? Are there
footnotes, cited references or just bold unattributed or unverifiable
More Questions:Are there spelling errors and grammatical
mistakes? An absence of proofreading or editing can be a tip-off. At the very
least, it indicates inattention to detail that might carry over to the
credibility of the information itself.
Still more questions:- Why is this information being
provided? Is the reason clear? Is the reason likely to be correct? If not, the
web site author' s motivation bears further checking.- Another general rule:
verify authorship before using information from that site.
Authority- It' s important to know where a web site' s
content originates- If there is no contact person, no credit taken for the
web site, don't trust it.- It is a good idea to go with a known brand. If
you regularly read a newspaper and count on its contents to be accurate, then
the web site also is likely to be.
How can we be sure?- Contact the source directly. Often
there is an e-mail address.- Contact the domain registry to see who is
paying for the site.
How can we be sure?- Contact the source. Often there is
an e-mail address. Good content providers give us enough information to
judge.- Contact the domain registry so see who is paying for the site. You
can go to www.icann.net to check. Type in http://www.whonami.com to find the
organization or person responsible for site.
Timeliness- The web archives with the most reputable
information will carefully note the coverage dates of the articles or interviews
within the site.- Dates can be anywhere on a page. Sometimes it takes
Coverage and Objectivity- There are many who believe
that objectivity is not the determining criteria for journalism. Fairness is.
Being as fair as possible should hold true for web pages.- In the Wild Wild
West of the Internet, the masking of biased information is more common than we