Being able to quickly
and critically evaluate references to library and Internet materials
is a very useful skill. Academic libraries and the Internet are
large and very dynamic resources. There are so many different types
of information available that identifying and evaluating quality
resources can sometimes be difficult. Library and Internet collections
grow in very different ways...
- librarians develop plans and use specific criteria to add materials
to the library
- librarians try to purchase only high quality materials
- each item added is carefully cataloged or recorded in the online
- the size of a library is determined by its budget and physical
On the Internet
- almost anyone can add anything to the Internet at anytime
- no one makes plans for the whole Internet and how it will look
- many Internet resources are poorly indexed or not indexed at
- the Internet is growing faster than anyone could imagine!
Use the criteria listed
below, and your search experience, to improve your ability to quickly
and efficiently identify and evaluate library and/or Internet information
references and resources.
Use the following questions to critically evaluate print and
Web based information:
||Is the information
provided based on proven facts?
Is it published in a scholarly or peer-reviewed publication?
Have you found similar information in a scholarly or peer-reviewed
||Who is the author?
Is she or he affiliated with a reputable university or organization?
What is the author's educational background or experience?
What is their area of expertise?
Has the author published in scholarly or peer reviewed publications?
Does the author/Web Master provide contact information?
||Does the information
covered meet your information needs?
Is the coverage basic or comprehensive?
Is there an "About Us" link that explains subject
How relevant is it to your research interests?
||When was the information
When was the Web site was last updated.
Is timeliness important to your information need?
||How objective or
biased is the information?
What do you know about who is publishing this information?
Is there a political, social or commercial agenda?
Does the information try to inform or persuade?
How balanced is the presentation on opposing perspectives?
What is the tone of language used (angry, sarcastic, balanced,
||Is there a list
of references or works cited?
is there a bibliography?
Is there information provided to support statements of fact?
Can you contact the author or Web Master to ask for, and receive,
the sources used?
Web site design
|How well designed
is the Web site?
Is the information clearly focused?
How easy to use is the information??
How easy is it to find information within the publication or
Are the bibliographic references and links accurate, current,
credible and relevant?
Are the Contact addresses for the author(s) and Web Master(s)
available from the site?
Another good guide on
web sites has been done by librarians at University of California,
following sites provide evaluations of selected Internet resources.
|Web Site Reviews
|Name of Site
|Browsable Menus, Keywords, Boolean,
||The Scout Report and the NSDL Scout
Reports provide evaluations each week on a selection of
new and newly discovered Internet resources. Sites are selected
based on the quality of the content, authority,
information maintenance, presentation, availability and
cost of access.
||Browsable Menus, Keywords, Boolean
||The Librarians' Internet Index (lii.org)
is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than
10,000 Internet resources selected and evaluated by librarians
for their usefulness to users of public libraries. lii.org
is used by both librarians and the general public as a reliable
and efficient guide to Internet resources.