Guide to Evaluating Web Sites


| Why Evaluate? | Evaluation Criteria | Evaluation Techniques |


Why Evaluate Web Sites?

The World Wide Web is an effective means of disseminating information, but the fact that anyone who has access to a Web server can create and maintain a Web site on any topic raises issues of quality and integrity not normally encountered in the medium of print, where the publishing process is governed by close editorial scrutiny. Explicit standards and editorial control are often absent in Web publishing. Also, some people delight in producing "spoof sites" containing misinformation that the inexperienced or unwary user might be tempted to accept as truth.

Because Web pages are not physical objects in the commonly understood sense, information in digital format is easier to alter than print. This makes information on the Web potentially more ephemeral (fleeting). The form and content of online information can be surprisingly fluid, for example, the appearance or "look" of a Web site may undergo frequent revision, a Web address (URL) may change without warning when the site is moved to another server, or a Web site accessible today may disappear tomorrow, leaving little record of its existence except the message "Not found" on the screen.

Here are a few tips for evaluating the quality and integrity of Web sites:

Criteria for Evaluating Web Sites

Accuracy

Authority

Objectivity

Currency

Coverage

Techniques for Evaluating Web Sites

Accuracy

Authority

Objectivity

Currency

Coverage

Style


Please send your comments to Joan Reitz, Haas Instruction Librarian, Western Connecticut State University.
reitzj@wcsu.edu
Last updated on May 14, 2015