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Got It Off the Net?

A Checklist for Evaluating the Quality of Web Resources.


  • Who is the Author? person, group, agency, organization.

  • Who created the site?

  • What are their professional credentials? Are they verifiable?

  • Who or what is the agency that sponsors or publishes the site? Are they reliable?

  • What is the domain name of the site? Who is the domain sponsor?

  • .com - commercial sites designed for selling or entertainment, and may include many personal sites (Ex:

  • .edu - educational, institutional /organizational or collage student sites, primarily provide good information. (Ex:

  • .gov - sites are government entities, usually reliable. (Ex:

  • .mil - sites are a military body (Ex:

  • .net - sites are Internet service provider (ISP) (Ex:

  • .org - organizational sites are for profit and may be biased usually, but may provide good information. (Ex:


  • Is the material factual, to the best of your knowledge?

  • Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched or is it unsupported by the evidence?

  • Are citations provided so that assertions and 'facts' that are presented can be verified?

  • Does reputable web site rating services such as libraries Index to the Internet, Info MINE, Britannica online list the site?


  • Is the purpose of the page to inform, entertain or persuade?

  • Is the site designed to present factual information in an unbiased manner or do the creators of the site have a particular bias that is likely to color the information and interpretations?

  • Which of the following indicators of objectivity does the site contain?

  • What type of sites link to the site? This can be verified by copying the URL for the page or site, go to Google or another search engine, and type the "link" and paste the URL (Ex:

Indicators of Scholarship

Indicators of Propaganda

Describes limits of research of data.

Excessive claims of certainty, i.e. one "right" way of thinking

Presents accurate descriptions of alternate viewpoints.

Relies on personal attacks and ridicule.

Encourages debate, discussion, and criticism.

Emotional appeals. Use of inflammatory language.

Looks for counter-examples.

Appeals to popular prejudices.

Admits own ignorance.

Transforms words and statistics to suit purpose.


  • Is the web site dated? Is this date the date of creation or the date the material was last updated? When the page was last updated?

  • Are the links the page provides still current?

Coverage and Comparability

  • What topics does the page cover?

  • How in-depth is the coverage of topics? Is the site intended to be comprehensive or selective?

  • How does the site compare with other related sites or other related print resources?

Maintenance and Design

  • Do all the links work?

  • Are there typographical, grammatical or coding errors?

  • Do you have trouble connecting to the site or specific page?

  • Is the site well organized?

  • Is the site easy to navigate?

  • Is there a site index?

Recommended search engines

Material used in this handout was adapted from the sites:

" The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" by Susan Beck, New Mexico State University

For additional assistance contact Lydia Jackson, Instruction Librarian ( or 618-650-2604) or the Information Desk (618-650-INFO).

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