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Internet Search Guide: Evaluation

Major Domains

.edu - educational site - school or university Web site

.gov  governmental site belonging to an agency of the government

.net - domains that can belong to anyone

.com - generally commercial sites belonging to businesses

.org  - organizational site (usually) nonprofit organizations

Lack of Credibility

Some indicators of web site that lack credibility

  • No dates, or no updates

  • Dead links 

  • Bad grammar and misspellings
  • No e-mail or contact information for the author
  • No Reference lists or external links 

Evaluation of Web Documents

The World Wide Web allows anybody to write and publish.
You should therefore be cautious when assembling information from the Internet. When it comes to research, you need to use authoritative sources that support your arguments and include those in your papers or projects.

Evaluation of Web Documents    How to Interpret the Basis  

1- Accuracy of Web Documents

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact
    him or her?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why
    was it produced?   
  • Is this person qualified to write this document?           

2- Authority of Web Documents

  • What are the author's credentials/affiliation?
  • What is the domain of the site (.edu, .com, .net ect...)?

3- Objectivity of Web Documents

  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by
    the author?

4- Currency of Web Documents

  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?

5- Coverage of the Web Documents

  •  Is it all images or a balance of text and images?  


  • Locate the author of the article
  • Make sure you find the author and
    not the Webmaster


  • What credentials are listed for the
  • Check the URL domain.


  • Are three lots of advertisements?
  • Ask yourself why was this written and for whom?


  • Are there dead links on the page?
  • Are the links current or updated regularly?
  • Is the information on the page outdated?


  • Is it free or is there a fee, to obtain the information?

Adopted from Olin and Uris Libraries, Cornell University