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Evaluating Web Sites
Information on the internet is mostly unfiltered, requiring extra caution in selecting reliable sources. Virtually anyone can create a web site on a topic, regardless of their training, education, or experience in the subject field. You may also find e-mail messages and newsgroup postings in your search results, as well as business-related or commercial sites, posted by companies whose primary purpose is to convince consumers of the value of their products or services.
When evaluating a web site, check these basic points:
- Author or contact person – usually located in the footer
- Link to local home page – usually located in either header or footer
- Institution – usually located in either header or footer
- Domain – the last segment of the "root" of the URL (for example, http://www.berry.edu)
- Date of creation or revision – usually located in footer
- Intended audience – determined by examining the body
- Purpose of the information – determined by examining the body
The following PDFs provide more tools for evaluating websites. Use the checklist to help in critically analyzing a questionable website or blog.