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Information Literacy History: Evaluating the quality of internet sites

Criteria for assessing internet sites

The criteria discussed before (in 'Evaluation criteria') for assessing information can also be used for information you find on the internet. Because anyone can publish anything on the internet, it is particularly important to critically assess the quality of the source when you use information from the internet.

Below you will find a number of characteristics that will help you to determine whether an internet site is reliable.

Characteristics of a reliable website

- Detailed background information about the author and/or organization responsible for the content of the site or document

- The site is well-maintained; information is updated regularly

- A clear structure and well-formulated sentences without spelling mistakes

- Links to the site from other reliable sources

Characteristics of an unreliable website

- Anonymity

- The site is not well-maintained; information is outdated

- Careless use of language. Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typing errors can be an indication of carelessness and/or ignorance, and also point to a lack of quality control

Checklist for evaluating internet sites

A useful checklist for evaluating the quality of internet sites (in Dutch!):

Kate Turabian about reliability

In Kate Turabian's book, A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations, (8th ed., 2013), you will find information about evaluating information sources and about reliabity, on page 33-36.