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Exeter-West Greenwich Jr/Sr High School Library: Website Evaluation

Middle School Book Battle

Why bother to evaluate web sites?

Why Evaluate Websites?

You need to be critical—even suspicious—when searching for information on the Internet, also called the “Free Web.” To learn why, read the facts below.

  • Anyone can post anything at anytime on the Internet. The Web is populated with an abundance of unreliable and inaccurate information.
  • People who publish on the Web have an agenda. Be particularly suspicious of .com sites, which are trying to sell you something.
  • Only a small number of scholarly journals and books are available in full text on the Internet. Most scholarly journal articles are accessible from subscription databases; most scholarly books, both print and eBook, are located within library collections.
  • Navigating the vast amount of information available on the Internet can be overwhelming. Only a small percentage of search results generally are relevant.
  • Many websites require you to log on—and pay a fee—to gain access.


"Lesson 12: Reviews." Lesson 12: Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <>.

Fact or Fiction?

Evaluating Online Information

Lateral Reading -


     - Practice Click Restraint

     - Use Wikipedia Wisely

     - Follow the Money - is the source or subject of the source sponsored? do they contribute to another source? are there private interests?  

adapted from :KQED

Evaluating Websites

Can the author be trusted?

Who is the author?


0  Cannot find an author

1  Unknown organization or name

2  Author is expert on this topic or organization is expert on this topic

Am I able to find out more about the author?

0  No contact information given

1  Email address given

2  Email address and mailing address given

What is the purpose of this site?

Can I tell the purpose of the site from the domain?

0 The url ends in .com or contains a ~(which means it might be a personal site)

1 The url ends in a domain I don’t recognize

2 The url ends in .edu, .org, or .gov

Does the site contain advertising?

0 The site is full of advertisements

1 The site contains advertisements, but it is easy to tell between ads and content

2 The site does not contain any advertisements

Is this site up to date?

When was the site last revised?


0  Cannot find a date

1  More than one year ago

2  Less than one year ago

Do the links work?


0  Many dead links

1  One or two dead links

2  All links work

Is this a good site for students your age?

Is the text readable?


0  Can’t read it - technical language meant for experts


Lots of spelling and grammatical errors

1  Can read some parts, but difficult


2  Can read it all and no spelling or grammatical errors

Is there useful information for students?

0  Few parts of the site seem useful for students

1  Some of the site seems useful for students

2  Most of the site seems useful for students







A SCORE OF 12-16 DEFINITELY USE THIS SITE, it’s an excellent source of information for a student! 
A SCORE OF 7-11 USE THIS SITE WITH CAUTION and compare it to other sites on the same topic first.
A SCORE OF 0-6 DO NOT USE THIS SITE, it cannot be trusted and is not a good source of information for a student!

Adapted from