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Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

Evaluation of Web Documents
How to Interpret the Basics


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 the document?

Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.

Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.


Who published the document? Is it a person different from the webmaster?

Check the domain of the document. What institution published it?

Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?

What credentials are listed for the authors?

Where is the document published? Check the URL domain.


What goals/objectives does this page meet?

How detailed is the information?

What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?

Determine if the page is a mask for advertising. If so the information might be biased.

View any Web page as you would an infommercial on television. Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?


When was it produced?

When was it updated?

How up to date are the links (if any)?


How many dead links are on the page?

Are the links current or updated regularly?

Is the information on the page outdated?


Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the webpage theme?

Are there just images or is there a balance of text and images?

Is the information presented cited correctly?


If the page requires special software, how much information is missing if the software is unavailable?

Is it free or is there a fee to obtain the information?

Is there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?

Putting It All Together


If your page lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her and...


If your page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net) and...


If your page provides accurate information with limited advertising and it is objective in presenting the information and...


If your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date and...


If you can view the information properly--not limited to fees, browser technology, or software requirement...

You may have a Web page that could be of value to your research.

Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.
Used with permission from the author.


Nutting Memorial Library, Maine Maritime Academy, Box C-1, Pleasant Street, Castine, ME 04420 (207) 326-2263

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