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Evaluating Information Found on the Internet  

Last Updated: May 28, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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The World Wide Web offers information and data from all over the world. Because so much information is available, and because that information can appear to be fairly “anonymous”, it is necessary to develop skills to evaluate what you find. When you use a research or academic library, the books, journals and other resources have already been evaluated by scholars, publishers and librarians. Every resource you find has been evaluated in one way or another before you ever see it. When you are using the World Wide Web, none of this applies. There are no filters. Because anyone can write a Web page, documents of the widest range of quality, written by authors of the widest range of authority, are available on an even playing field. Excellent resources reside along side the most dubious. The Internet epitomizes the concept of Caveat lector: Let the reader beware.

This guide discusses the criteria by which scholars in most fields evaluate print information, and shows how the same criteria can be used to assess information found on the Internet. Use the tabs on this guide to further explore and consider how to effectively evaluate online information.

(With gratitude to Elizabeth E. Kirk for compiling the information about evaluating information sources from the Internet.)

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