Evaluating Web Sites
Publishing on the Web is very different than publishing in print — the traditional medium for scientific literature. Anyone can publish a Web page without anyone evaluating the accuracy or quality of the information. Reviews by peers, reviewers, editors, and publishers are not often applied to Web sites.
The sole responsibility for evaluating the scholarly content of a Web site rests with the Web site user.
Traditional evaluation criteria used for print resources and Web specific criteria are both useful as indicators of quality and should considered when examining Web sites.
1. Authorship: Is the author identified? What are the author’s credentials? For example, does the site include the author's position and institutional affiliation? Is the URL for an educational institution (.edu) or government agency (.gov)?
2. Accuracy: Can the data be verified from other sources? Does the author have an obvious bias?
3. Audience: Is the site intended for scholars or professionals, for lay people, or for students?
4. Currency: Does the Web site include the date it was created and/or updated? Are the links current?
5. Coverage: Does the site state its intended scope? Is it designed to cover an entire subject, or to give detailed information on one aspect?
6. Relative Value: How does it compare to other sources of similar information? Are there other more accurate or complete sources - possibly in print format?