The Essential Web A presentation at Computers in Libraries 2000, March 2000
Karen Hartman Ernest Ackermann  


Guidelines for Evaluating Web Pages

When we access or retrieve something on the World Wide Web we need to be able to decide whether the information is useful, reliable, or appropriate for our purposes.
Who is the author or institution?
  • If the author is a person, does the resource give biographical information? 
  • If the author is an institution, is there information provided about it?
  • Have you seen the author's or institution's name cited in other sources or bibliographies? 
  • The URL can give clues to the authority of a source. A tilde ~ in the URL usually indicates that it is a personal page rather than part of an institutional Web site
How current is the information?
  • Is there a date on the Web page that indicates when the page was placed on the Web? 
  • Is it clear when the page was last updated? 
  • Is some of the information obviously out-of-date? 
  • Does the page creator mention how frequently the material is updated
Who is the audience?
  • Is the Web page intended for the general public, scholars, practitioners, children, etc.? Is this clearly stated? 
  • Does the Web page meet the needs of its stated audience?
Is the content accurate and objective?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, or institutional biases? 
  • Is the content intended to be a brief overview of the information or an in-depth analysis? 
  • If the information is opinion is this clearly stated? 
  • If there is information copied from other sources is this acknowledged? Are there footnotes if necessary?
What is the purpose of the information?
  • Is the purpose of the information to inform, explain, persuade, market a product, or advocate a cause? 
  • Is the purpose clearly stated? 
  • Does the resource fulfill the stated purpose?


Let's take a look at :

For more details and a list of other sites on this topic take a look at Evaluating Information Found on the World Wide Web

Karen Hartman
Ernest Ackermann
Presented at Computers in Libraries 2000 March 2000