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Unlike most print resources such as magazines, journals, and books that go through a filtering process (e.g. editing, peer review, library selection), information on the Internet is mostly unfiltered. So using and citing information found over the Internet is a little like swimming without a lifeguard. The following guide provides a starting point for evaluating the World Wide websites and other Internet information.

Authority

  • Who is the author of the piece?
  • Is the author the original creator of the information?
  • Does the author list his or her occupation, years of experience, position, education, or other credentials?

Affiliation

  • What institution (company, organization, government, university, etc.) or Internet provider supports this information?
  • If it is a commercial Internet provider, does the author appear to have any connection with a larger institution?
  • Does the institution appear to exercise quality control over the information appearing under its name?
  • Does the author's affiliation with this particular institution appear to bias the information?

Currency

  • When was the information created or last updated?

Purpose

  • What appears to be the purpose for this information?
    • Inform
    • Explain
    • Persuade

Audience

  • Who is the intended audience?

Compared to what?

  • What does this work/site offer compared to other works, including non-Internet works?

Conclusion

  • Given all the information you determined from above, is this Internet site appropriate to add to your bookmark?

Adapted from: Wilkinson, G.L., Bennett, L., & Oliver, K. "Consolidated Listing of Evaluation Criteria and Quality Indicators" Educational Technology, March/April, 1997. Initially at: t2.coe.uga.edu/Faculty/gwilkinson/criteria.html - a link that no longer works.