Evaluating a Web Site Checklist BIOLOGY



Evaluating a Web Site Checklist

Purpose Questions Y/N

What is the purpose of the page? To inform, explain, persuade, sell a product?

2 Educational vs. commercial? How does this purpose affect the credibility of the page?

2 Does the page present fact, opinion, or propaganda?

2 Does the author use other sources to support the information presented?

2 Does the page present fact, opinion, or propaganda?

2 Does the author use other sources to support the information presented? 2 Are there other viewpoints presented? If the page is sponsored by a company or organization, could the information be biased to promote a particular agenda or sell a product? 2 Is there advertising on the page? Could the advertisers have influence over the content of the page? 2


Who is this page for? Experts, novices, professionals, or hobbyists?

2 How does the intended audience effect the reliability of the information?


Is this a personal vs. official association/ agency/ institutional or other organizational Web page? Who wrote the page?

2 What is the author's background? Does this make him/her qualified to write on the subject? 2 Have you seen this author's name in other sources?

2 (Include author searches in scholarly/academic I databases. Other sources can be reference resources like Who’s Who publications, Contemporary Author, and other various biographical tools.) Is the author affiliated with a larger institution?

2 Is there contact information for the author (e-mail as well as regular mailing address)? 2 Who is the sponsor?

1 Is the sponsor of the page reputable? How reputable?

1 Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor? Directory of Associations, and other association directories.) 1 (Check resources like Associations Unlimited, World of Learning, If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there any other way to determine its origin the URL?) 1 (e.g. header or footer showing affilitation; edu, .com, .gov, .net, .org,; etc.; truncate back


Does the information on the page update, substantiate, or add new information to what you have already found on your topic? 2 Is this primary or secondary information (based on primary information)? Is there any selection criteria for links included on the site? You will need to assess the credibility of linked pages as well.

2 Does the page provide information that is not available in print?

2 Can you verify the information with another source? 2 What topics are covered?

1 What does this page offer that is not found elsewhere?

1 What is its intrinsic value?

1 How in-depth is the material?



Is the page free of grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors? These type of errors may indicate that there are errors in the facts as well. 2 Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information?



When was this page created? 2 When was it last updated? If done, when was the last update?

1 How current are the links? Have some expired or moved? Minimal ‘link rot.’ 1 Is the page current enough to meet the needs of your topic?



Are the sources of information scholarly vs. personal opinion? Are links to reputable sites / information? Is copyright for other works respected, or are there indications of plagiarism in the source? Are references cited or bibliography included? Check for external Web pages that link or contain a specific URL by searching the [


] at http://www.alltheweb.com. Find pages with 1 or more links in Google by searching

link: [URL].

References Cited

1. Beck, Susan E. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Evaluation Criteria Reference & Research Services Department, New Mexico State University Library. Updated September 21, 2003. http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html. Accessed January 21, 2004. 2.

Using the Internet for Research

Accessed January 20, 2004.

(Tutorial): Evaluating Web Pages

. Central Reference Services, Main Library, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Updated October 2, 2002. http://www.library.uiuc.edu/rex/instruction/Internet/internetresearch.htm .

Other Resources

Critically Analyzing Information Sources. Division of Reference Services, Olin Kroch Uris Libraries, Cornell University Library. Revised August 15, 2003. http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/skill26.htm. Accessed January 16, 2004. Evaluating Information Found on the Internet. The Sheridan Libraries of The Johns Hopkins University. 1996, updated 6/5/2002. http://www.library.jhu.edu/elp/useit/evaluate. Accessed January 16, 2004. Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask. UC Berkeley – Teaching Library Internet Workshops. 1996, updated 1/4/2004. http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html. Accessed January 16, 2004. Five Criteria for Evaluating Web pages. Division of Reference Services, Olin Kroch Uris Libraries, Cornell University Library. 1998. http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/webcrit.html. Accessed January 16, 2004. Web Research Evaluation Checklist. University Libraries, University of Louisville. Updated February 18, 2003. Accessed January 21, 2004. Created 2004, Melody Allison, Assistant Biology Librarian