WHO created the page/site? Can you find and verify the author’s qualifications, whether an individual or an organization?
- Look for “About us /Author” links for author’s name and contact information.
- Verify author’s qualifications in another source, e.g., journal, encyclopedia, etc.
- Look for a link to the home page of the website where the document lives.
- Look at the parts of the URL or address to find organizational affiliation.
- Use a WHOIS search to help determine ownership of website
WHAT is the site about? Does it have the kind of information you need?
- Look at the browser title bar, document title, content, and links.
||WHERE is the information coming from? Does the site list any sources or methods used in gathering their information?
- Look at the URL and domain suffix. – Only the following three are restricted:
- .edu=U.S. institution of higher learning.
- .gov=U.S. federal, state, or local government.
- .mil=U.S. Military.
- All other suffixes can be registered by ANYONE: .com, .net, .org, .tv
- Two letter country codes (.uk, .ca) can identify where is it from if not U.S.
- URL should match the organization responsible for the page.
- Check who owns the site at a WHOIS site: http://www.networksolutions.com/whois
WHEN was the page or information created? Is the currency of the information provided important?
- Look for dates. Can you tell what they mean? Publication or copyright date? Last modified or updated? Date statistics gathered or published?
- Note date you accessed the site. You need this to cite the Web site!
WHY is this site on the web and how does it affect the information?
- Look at “About us/Mission/Purpose”, links, content, and advertising.
- Determine purpose of the site:
- Informational (provides multiple viewpoints and references).
- Business or marketing (tries to sell you something).
- Advocacy or “soapbox” (tries to persuade you).
- Entertainment (satirical, fictional).
- Choose sites whose purposes are compatible with your information needs!