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Evaluating Websites: Authority/Source Questions

Includes Introductory Video and questions one must ask when evaluating websites

Authority/Source Questions

  • Is there an identified author of the Web page or site?
  • Is contact information, i.e., an e-mail address and/or address, given for the author?
  • Are the credentials of the author stated?
  • Is the author an expert in his/her field?
    Hint: Look up the author in a biographical reference source.
  • Have others, either in the print media or electronic sources, cited the author?
    Hint: If possible, do a search on the author's name in a "citation style" index or a "keyword" index or look in bibliographies of other sources.
  • Have other web pages linked to this page or site?
    Hint: Perform a link search in AltaVista (use the search statement link:URL) or Google (go to Advanced Search).
  • Does the site comply with current copyright guidelines?
    Hint: See The Copyright Website and 10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained. Note that everything that is published on the Internet is protected under copyright law.
  • Is this site sponsored by an organization? If so, is the purpose and scope of the organization given? Is a phone number and surface mail address given for the organization, in addition to an e-mail address?
    Hint: If you cannot tell if the site is sponsored by an organization, erase the address from the right down to the domain name. This should display the home page of the organization. You can also look up who or what organization or individual registered the domain name at
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    Copyright © 1997-2010 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised May 2009 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.