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Website Evaluation: Getting Started

Helps when searching for information online

Website Evaluation Basics

There are several similar ways to remember the criteria for evaluating websites. Click on the Title of each for more explanation and a PDF handout.

CRAAP Test for website evaluation (credit for the CRAAP test goes to the librarians who developed it at CSU Chico)

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

 

5 Questions (Univ. of California, Berkeley
Click here for a checklist.  

  • What can the URL tell you? (domain, publisher)
  • Answer these questions- scan perimeter of page (about us, philosophy, background, biography, currency, credentials, etc.)
  • Look for indicators of quality information (links, documentation/footnotes, credibility)
  • What do others say? (linking pages, listed in a reputable directory, what others say about the author)
  • Does it all add up? (why was page put on web, purpose, is this as reliable as resource as you would find in a library?)

 

 

Video Tutorial

Evaluating Social Media

Paul Bradshaw, a leading digital media expert and teacher in Europe, writes the Online Journalism Blog. In 2011, he wrote a post that provides a variety of basic guidelines about online verification with a section related to social media:

How long has the account existed? If it’s only existed since a relevant story broke (e.g. Jan Moir’s column; an earthquake where someone claims to be a witness) then it’s likely to be opportunistic.

Who did the person first ‘follow’ or ‘friend’? These should be personal contacts, or fit the type of person you’re dealing with. If their first follow is ReadWriteWeb, then it may be that you’re not actually dealing with a Daily Mail columnist.

Who first followed them? Likewise, it should be their friends and colleagues.

Who has spoken to them online? Ditto.

Who has spoken about them? Here you may find friends and colleagues, but also people who have rumbled them. But don’t take anyone else’s word for their existence unless you can verify them too.

Can you correlate this account with others? The Firefox extension Identify is a useful tool here: it suggests related social network accounts which you can then try to cross-reference. For companies the Chrome extension Polaris Insights does something similar for companies.

Tips for Citing Social Media

Check the manuals for your style guide for the most up-to-date information. If your style guide doesn't cover it in print, then look to their online website to see if they've included some information there on proper citation for these social media formats. Also try our citing guidefor more information or email your librarian.

If you are experiencing problems with our guides, please contact Janet S. Ward, jward@limestone.edu, Associate Professor and Web Services Librarian.