In today's Information Age, one can find a wealth of information on almost
any topic. The challenge is to sift through a huge amount of information
and identify sources that are not only appropriate but also reliable.
Whether you find information in books and periodicals, on the Internet,
or on television, you cannot assume it is reliable. The user is responsible
for evaluating information and judging its quality.
Information and resources found on the Internet can pose unique questions
as to reliability. Unlike articles that appear in periodicals or materials
that the LLRC (Library and Learning Resource Center) owns, many items
appearing on the World Wide Web are not "filtered" or reviewed by editors
or authorities on the subject before publication. That means anyone anywhere
can put anything on the Internet.
USEFUL INTERNET SITE ON EVALUATION:
of Information Sources
Part of the Information Quality WWW Virtual Library at Australian National
ABOUT WORLD WIDE WEB RESOURCES
by Esther Grassian, UCLA College
The World Wide Web has a lot to offer,
but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable.
Here are some points to consider.
Content & Evaluation
- Who is the audience?
- What is the purpose of the Web
Page & what does it contain?
- How complete and accurate are
the information and the links provided?
- What is the relative value of
the Web site in comparison to the range of information
resources available on this topic? (Note: Be
sure to check with a librarian.)
- What other resources (print & non-print)
are available in this area?
- What are the date(s) of coverage
of the site and site-specific documents?
- How comprehensive is this site?
- What are the link selection
criteria if any?
- Are the links relevant and
appropriate for the site?
- Is the site inward-focused,
pointing outward, or both?
- Is there an appropriate balance
between inward-pointing links ("inlinks" i.e.,
within the same site) & outward-pointing
links ("outlinks" i.e., to other
- Are the links comprehensive
or do they just provide a sampler?
- What do the links offer that
is not easily available in other sources?
- Are the links evaluated in
- Is there an appropriate range
of Internet resources -- e.g., links to gophers?
- Is multimedia appropriately
- How valuable is the information
provided in the Web Page (intrinsic value)?
Source & Date
- Who is the author or producer?
- What is the authority or expertise
of the individual or group that created this
- How knowledgeable is the individual
or group on the subject matter of the site?
- Is the site sponsored or co-sponsored
by an individual or group that has created
other Web sites?
- Is any sort of bias evident?
- When was the Web item produced?
- When was the Web item mounted?
- When was the Web item last revised?
- How up to date are the links?
- How reliable are the links; are
there blind links, or references to sites which
- Is contact information for the
author or producer included in the document?
- Does the document follow good
graphic design principles?
- Do the graphics and art serve
a function or are they decorative?
- Do the icons clearly represent
what is intended?
- Does the text follow basic rules
of grammar, spelling and literary composition?
- Is there an element of creativity,
and does it add to or detract from the document
- Can the text stand alone for use
in line-mode (text only) Web browsers as well
as multimedia browsers, or is there an option
for line-mode browsers?
- Is attention paid to the needs
of the disabled -- e.g., large print and graphics
options; audio; alternative text for graphics?
- Are links provided to Web "subject
trees" or directories -- lists of subject-arranged
- How usable is the site? Can visitors
get the information they need within a reasonable
number of links (preferably 3 or fewer clicks)?
- Is appropriate interactivity available?
- When it is necessary to send confidential
information out over the Internet, is encryption
(i.e., a secure coding system) available? How
secure is it?
- Are there links to search engines
or is a search engine attached to (embedded in)
the Web site?
Created by Esther Grassian,
UCLA College Library, 6/95. Last updated 10/98. © 1997
Regents of the University of California. Permission
is granted for unlimited non-commercial use of