How good are your internet resources?


There is no guarantee that the information that you find on the internet is true. It is important that you know a little about your topic before you begin searching so that you can tell whether you are looking at good information. Use print resources or an online encyclopedia like Britannica first to get familiar with your topic.
When you find a web site that you think will help you with your research, you need to ask some questions to make sure this is a good site to be using.

Who (Authority)

• Who wrote it?
• What is the domain of the URL?
  • .com (commercial organizations)
  • .org (usually non-profit organizations, but not always)
  • .edu (educational institutions)
  • .gov (government)
  • .net (organizations involved in Internet services)
  • .int (international organizations)
• Is it a personal page? Look for: ~ % "users" "people"
• Is there an "about the author" link?
• What credentials do they have (level of education, career, research)?
• Can you contact the author by email or regular mail?
• Who else links to this site? Search on AltaVista or Google with link:URL

Why

• What is the purpose of the site? Sometimes the domain of the URL is a hint. Sometimes you can truncate back the URL to find the sponsor.
• Is there an "About us" page?
• Does the sponsor/author want to share information, persuade, sell, entice, inform, explain?
• Is the information suitable for the intended audience?

What (Authenticity)

• Are the author's sources documented?
• Is information presented clearly, accurately and respectfully?
• Can you find the information in other sources?
• Does it present a balanced perspective and show other viewpoints?
• Is there anything missing that should be there?
• Is there too much advertising?

When

• Have the pages been updated recently?
• Are the links all working?
• Do the links go to current resources?

How

• Is the page easy to read and use?
• Is it organized well so that you can navigate easily?
• Does it load quickly?

(adapted from Valenza, 2003, Oregon State Library, 2006 and McMillan, 2007)


Sites to investigate:
Northwest Pacific Tree Octopus
Decode Genetics
Secondhand Smoke
City of Mankato
Genochoice
Dihydrogen Monoxid (a most dangerous chemical compound)
Stick Insect Foundation
Bonsai Kitten