Use these criteria to assist you evaluating the authority of a source.
- Who is the author?
- Is it clear who is responsible for the contents of the page?
- What experiences or formal credentials does the author have?
- Can you contact the author?
- Who published the Web document?
- Was this site developed by an academic institution or commercial organization with an established reputation in the topical area?
- Is there a sponsoring organization? If so what is its purpose?
Where to Look
- The author or contact is usually located in the footer of the document.
- Check for a link to the author's personal homepage or author's institutional affiliation. It is usually located in the header or footer.
- Check the URL (Uniform Resource Locator).
- EDU = educational institution, e.g. ups.edu
- COM = commerical organization, e.g. microsoft.com
- ORG = non-profit organization, e.g. npr.org
- GOV = governmental organization, e.g. senate.gov
- NET = network, e.g. internic.net
- ~ (tilda) personal name= personal homepage, e.g. /~smith/blacklist.html
- Look in traditional reference sources, like Who's Who in America, Contemporary Authors, or Encyclopedia of Associations.
- Look for a link to "About Us," Biography," or "Philosophy."
- Try truncating elements of the URL.
- Check Internic's Whois for information about the domain name.