Union University

Emma Waters Summar Library

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages
As suggested by Jim Kapoun

Accuracy of web documents

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him/her?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Is this person qualified to write this document?

Make sure the author provides email or other contact information.
Know the distinction between author and webmaster.

Authority of web documents

  • Who published the document and is it separate from the webmaster?
  • Check the domain of the document: what institution published it?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?

What credentials are listed for the author?
Where is the document published? Check the URL domain. Be wary of .com sites.

Objectivity of web documents

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?

View any web page as you would an infomercial on TV. Ask yourself why it was written and for whom.
Determine if the page is a mask for advertising; if so, the information may be biased.

Currency of web documents

  • When was it produced? Or updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?

Coverage of web documents

  • Are the links evaluated? Do they complement the document’s theme?
  • Is the site all images, or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the information present cited correctly?
  • Is the information free? Or is there a fee?

Taken from Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction by Jim Kapoun, C&RL News, Jul/Aug 1998, 522-3.