The SIX A`s for Evaluating Web Content
Transcript The SIX A`s for Evaluating Web Content
How to Evaluate Web
Stephen Perry, Regional
Information Resources Officer,
202-632-2747 Washington, DC
Thanks to many authors for their invaluable
ideas; last revised September 2011
“Do you want to find the Best
Resources on the Internet?”
“Casual users and serious
researchers place their trust in the
accuracy and completeness of the
data on the network. They’re
relying upon information of
unknown pedigree and dubious
quality, since precious little on the
Internet has been refereed or
Clifford Stoll, Silicon Snake Oil:
Second Thoughts on the
Information Highway. New York,
Doubleday, pg. 125
The Web is a no man’s land,
where anyone with sufficient
skills can publish any opinion
Therefore, experience tells us
that you will need additional and
critical skills to locate information
of real quality and value.
What do you think of this site?
At the end of this session, your Homework
assignment will be to evaluate it carefully.
Another view of this Web Page: what do you
notice about this page? Who is responsible for it?
From what you will learn, please analyze this site
Yet one more view of this web site that
purports to tell the truth about Dr. King:
what do you think?
Who or what organization is
responsible for the content?
Is all contact information readily
How easy is it to reach someone if
you have questions about the
content or authenticity of the Web
Does the Web Page list information
about the organization or individuals
responsible for the content and
design of the page?
Are all the links and information
Is the information cited correctly?
Who publishes the content and who
is responsible for updating it?
JUDGE: DOES THIS SITE
PRESENT ACCURATE AND
What is the purpose of the content
and why was it produced?
Does the content have a goal?
[Advertising vs. Educational vs.
How objective is the information? Is
it one person’s or one organization’s
point of view or opinion only?
IV. AGE ONLINE
When was the Web Page last
updated? Does the Web Page state
explicitly “Last Updated …”
How many dead links [Web Rot] are
on the page?
Does the page indicate a contact or
an email address for additional
Judge: Is the information timely?
V. AUDIENCE LEVEL
Is the Web Page geared for a
specific audience? (i.e.
or Religious Affiliation or
Is the content generic or very
JUDGE: WHAT IS THE VALUE
OF THIS SITE?
How Accessible is the web site?
Consider issues such as use of
color, patterns, organization, whether
the site offers the full text of
documents listed or only a portion.
Is the site or part of it under
construction? For how long?
Does the Web Page have a SITE
INDEX for greater accessibility?
JUDGE: HOW EASY IS THIS SITE
A REVIEW OF POINTS JUST
QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN
LOOKING AT WEB SITES:
Who manages the site?
When was it last updated?
Easy to use? Navigable?
Contains primary or secondary information?
Example: Second hand news or the
Does the Site give you just their
interpretation or version of events with no
references to other interpretations?
Does the Web Site offer Opinion or Fact?
Better Search Engines that actively
evaluate information via a human
INTERNET PUBLIC LIBRARY:
For Legal and Business
Distance Education: Quality Online
Courses for Continuing Education:
Reference/Fast Facts at a Glance:
For NGOs and Development Work
around the World
Poynter Site for Journalists:
NEW SEARCH ENGINES AVAILABLE: from
the http://www.llrx.com web site—These sites
use subject experts to evaluate the best sites
in your subject areas
A QUIZ AND A REVIEW
Compare two statistical sites
related to WOMEN AND AIDS:
Go to GOOGLE AND TYPE IN
“AIDS AND WOMEN AND
STATISTICS” and compare the
results and the types of web
pages you retrieve.
What did you discover through
MORE REVIEWING VIA AN ONLINE
Search Google for information on
your country…or …a topic of your
Name the top 5 web sites --using
and applying the criteria you just
Look at www.martinlutherking.org
and discuss the problems with it.
Does the site present opinion or
fact? How can you tell?
AN ADDITIONAL QUIZ
READ THE ONLINE ARTICLE:
“In GOOGLE WE TRUST:
INFORMATION INTEGRITY IN
THE DIGITAL AGE” BY LEE
SHAKER. FIRST MONDAY, vol.
11, no. 4 (APRIL 2006):
What lessons did you learn from
Now go to http://www.ipl.org and
type in your country name in the
search window provided and
see if there is a difference in the
quality of the sites offered by
Internet Public Library
http://www.ipl.org) and Google.
What did you learn from this
More information on how to
evaluate web pages can be found
through the following web sites
More Sites with Information on
how to evaluate Web Sites:
ALBANY: A series of Internet Tutorials
A Checklist for Evaluating Information:
More Sources to help you actively
◙ Learn to Think Critically Project:
◙ From About.com:
◙ From a University Web Site:
◙ The Web Credibility Project at Stanford
IF YOU MUST INSIST ON USING GOOGLE, then
PLEASE USE GOOGLE INTELLIGENTLY: here are
Finally, have a research strategy in mind.
Here is one from the U of Kentucky Libraries:
Here is the second half of the
Thank You for Your
IRO CENTRAL /
Last revised 9/2011