Basic browser skills
To increase proficiency in evaluating relevant Internet
Anybody can make a Web page—and they
you evaluate the sites you see???
A typical disclaimer by a typical librarian: While
this page concerns the topic of evaluating Web pages, teachers
should clearly indicate to their students that the Web is only
one source of information. While the Web can be very
useful for researching certain topics, it can be almost useless
for other topics. To research a topic thoroughly, use a variety
of sources--not just the Web.
Web evaluation techniques are being developed. While
establishing evaluation procedures should be an ongoing
process, the following criteria may be helpful at this
Look at areas of a Web document for
pertinent information used in the evaluation
*graphic adapted from Yale Style
Become more critical of the material you are
exposed to--become "InfoCritical."*
- Are the sources for any factual information clearly
listed so they can be verified in another source?
- Is the information free of errors?
- If statistical data, graphs and/or charts are presented,
are they clearly labeled and easy to read?
- Is the author indicated (often in the footer)? Is the
author the original creator of the information? Are the
author's qualifications clearly stated?
- Is it clear who is sponsoring the page? If it is an
- Is it a national institution/organization?
- Is there a link to a page describing the purpose of
the sponsoring organization?
- Is there a way of verifying the page's sponsor? Is there
a phone number or postal address to contact for more
information? (An e-mail address is not enough.)
- If the material is protected by copyright, is the name of the
copyright holder indicated?
Perspective or Objectivity
- Does the author have a bias? Does she/he express a
particular point of view?
- Is the author affiliated with particular organizations,
- Is the information provided as a public service?
- Is the information free of advertising? If there is any
advertising on the page, is it clearly identified as
advertising or does it look like informational content?
- Are there dates on the page (usually in the footer) to
indicate when the page was written and last revised?
- Are there any other indications that the material is kept
- If material is presented in graphs and/or charts, is it
clearly stated when the data was gathered?
- Is there an indication that the page has been completed,
or is it still under construction?
- Is there a clear indication of whether this is the entire
work or only parts of a print version?
developed a table as a "visual organizer" that helps focus the
evaluation of sources. They have also developed a bibliography
of additional information and resources.
Choose two sites from the following list:
Evaluating Web Pages: Links to Examples of Various Concepts
by Widener University, Wolfgram Memorial Library
Evaluate and compare the sites on just two of the
characteristics listed above. Post your response as indicated
by your facilitator or as indicated on your assignment sheet.
See assignment sheet for the due date.
*Jurek, Richard J. "Don't Be Fooled Again." Internet
World. April 1997, page 48.