The World Wide Web is a composite collection of content created and hosted on the internet by millions of organizations and individuals. In order to effectively evaluate the information, consider the following criteria:
- Who wrote this? As Peter Steiner said, “On the Internet,
Nobody Knows You’re a Dog”
- Is the author an expert in the field?
- What are author’s affiliations?
- Who is the sponsor or publishing body of the site?
- Is the information provided timely? This is particularly important in areas of science, technology, health, and politics.
- Is publication date or “last updated” date included with the information?
- If the information is dated or historical, does the document refer to the source and year, e.g. “Based on 1990 U.S. Census data”?
- Does the author or web page sponsor have a bias?
- Is more than one viewpoint expressed on the topic?
- Does the author or publishing body have a particular agenda?
- Is the information freely available?
- Is the site complete or under construction?
- Does the information have a print equivalent?
- Does the information include references to experts in the field or rely on other sources?
- Does the information include a bibliography?
- Was an explanation offered on how the data was gathered and interpreted?