Skip to Main Content

Website Evaluation: Home

Cross Curricular

Evaluating Websites

The Importance of Web Evaluation

Before a book is published, an editor reviews the pages to make sure the content is accurate and the spelling and grammar are correct. Then critics review the book in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Finally, librarians evaluate the book to make sure it's worth using for student research.

But no such review process exists for web pages. Anyone can publish anything to the web at any time. The majority of websites are created by non-experts. That's why it's important for you to carefully evaluate web pages before using the information.

Whenever you surf the web, check these criteria to make sure you're getting high-quality information from a reliable source:

  •  Authority
  • Content
  • Currency
  • Purpose

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia articles cannot be cited in a research paper or project because they are not a reliable source of informationn. Anyone can add, edit, or delete the entries. They are not considered scholarly as the author information is often not available and/or reliable.
In their own words: “Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity.”
There is a disclaimer at the bottom of every page:
What's good about Wikipedia?
  • Wikipedia can be helpful in discovering keywords and phrases that can be used in searches of the library catalog or databases.


  • Begin with the URL and look at the domain.What does it tell you?
    • .com
    • .edu
    • .gov
    • .org
    • .net
  • Examine the authority
    • Who is the author? Is there an author?
    • Who is the sponsor? (the organization responsible for the website)
    • Or are there both?
  • To find out, scan the perimeter of the page, looking for one of the following
    • About or About us
    • Who or Who Am I? or Who we are
    • Authors
    • Biography
    • FAQs
    • Home – often this page has some info
      Contact Us or an email link is NOT a good way to find author information                                                              
  • Find out about the expertise/qualifications of the author and/or sponsor
    • Education – Advanced degree (a Professor not a student)
    • Occupation -  Doctor, lawyer, master chef, professor, etc.
      Other credentials – Employment, experience (expert), author, etc.
      • There is a big difference between an expert and a hobbyist
      • Is the author and/or sponsor biased?

Content (Coverage & Accuracy)

  • Is there enough information? (in-depth information)
  • Does the information answer my questions/assignment?
  • Does it look professional?
  • Do you see spelling or grammatical errors?
  • Are there links to more resources?
  • Is there a bibliography


  • Is the information up-to-date?
  • Look for date created & last revised
    • Typically, at the bottom of the page, but f not there, check the home page