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Common Web domains
Recognizing a few top-level Web domains can help you evaluate the source:
- .edu - web domain for institutions of higher education in North America
- .org - web domain for non-profit organizations
- .gov - web domain for Unites States government agencies
- .com - web domain for commercial websites
You can even restrict your Internet search to a particular domain using Google Advanced Search!
Evaluating What Your Find on Websites
The following guidelines are important to consider when evaluating websites (they help with articles and books, too!):
- Is it clear who is responsible for the web page?
- Is there a way of verifying the page’s sponsor? (An email address is not enough).
- Is it clear who wrote the material? Are their credentials clearly stated?
- If the material is copyrighted, is the name of the copyright holder given?
- Are the sources for any factual information clearly cited for verification?
- Is the information clear of blatant grammatical, spelling and/or other typographical errors?
- If there are graphs or charts are they clearly labeled? Is source information given?
- What is the purpose of providing the information? (public service, profit, or persuasion)
- Is the information free of advertising?
- If there is advertising is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?
- Are there dates on the page indicating when it was written? When it was last revised?
- Are there indications that the material is kept current?
- Is there an indication that the page is complete and not still under construction?
- If there is a print equivalent, does the page state if the entire work is on the web or only parts of it?
(These criteria based on checklist in the book Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate)