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Evaluating Information: Evaluating Websites

This guide will give you insights into evaluating books, articles and websites for inclusion in your research.

Finding Good Information on the Web

Websites provide up-to-the minute news and information about current events, trends, and controversial topics.  They may also contain government publications such as reports, statistics, legislation and service information; interviews, newspaper articles; research reports; conference/workshop/symposium papers; maps and other types of resources.  

The Web vs. Library Tools

Although you can find high-quality information through web search engines, using library tools such as the catalog and databases may help you find information sources more efficiently.

Web Search Engines Library Tools
Search the worldwide web; much is unpublished; quality of information varies from one page to the next Search published materials, selected for scholarliness and high quality
Usually no features for saving search results Researcher tools allow you to save search results, email, print, generate citations, etc.
May be difficult to narrow search results to hone in on what you want Features are available to narrow search results by topic, format, date, etc.
Web pages may be "here today, gone tomorrow," information on webpages may change overnight Published work has stability; publisher takes responsibility for any updates or error correction
Social networking (comments on articles, e.g.) allows you to get an idea of the state of current conversation about an issue Published materials tend to be more static
Good for reading news, current events Good for finding scholarly and authoritative works on a topic
Very current information can be found Publication process takes awhile; information is weeks or months old

Evaluating Web Resources