Searching the Web

Authority

Who is the author or institution?

Does it include author’s bio or information about the institution?

What is the source’s authority, can they be contacted, are they reputable?

- Look for an "About Us" link

check the domain section of the URL

Money can buy (some) websites...

.com (commercial) -- may be trying to sell a product

.edu (educational) -- can be serious research or just student class assignments

.gov (government) -- usually dependable

.mil (military) -- usually dependable

.net (network) -- may provide services to customers

.org (organization) -- often nonprofit institution

._ _ -- is generally a country specific website

Purpose

Who is the audience and what is the purpose of the information?

Is the page intended for the general public or for a specific group (e.g. scholars or children etc.)?

Is the purpose clearly stated?

Is the purpose to inform, explain, persuade, sell a product or advocate a cause?

What’s the tone of the page? [serious? humorous? parody?]


Examples:

SCIgen - An Automated Computer Science Paper Generator

________________________________________________________________

Timeliness

How current is the information?

Is there a date of when the page was created or last update?

Is some of the information obviously out of date?

Do the links work?

If you find broken links on reliable websites, notify the webmaster.

Accuracy

Is the content accurate and objective?

Are there biases (political, cultural, religious or institutional)?

Is the organization reputable?

Can the facts be checked/verified?

If the information has been copied from other sources is this acknowledged?

What do others say about the author or organization?