Keith Stanger's Home Port

Criteria for Evaluating Resources
(Internet- and Print-Based)


Bias/Point of View

Authority of Source
  • Is a personal or organizational author identified?
  • Does the author provide contact information, e.g., e-mail address, telephone number, street address?
  • Does the personal author provide any credentials...
    - organizational affiliation?
    - education?
    - occupation?
    - years of experience?

    Do the credentials suggest an inherent bias of particular point of view?
  • Is the author the creator of the document or a compiler of information resources?
  • Can you find other material by or about the author, either on the Internet or using library resources, e.g., reference materials or indexing publications?
  • Are the sources of facts documented?
  • Are there links to the documented sources?
    - Are the links relevant?
    - Do the links work or are they “broken”?
  • Can you corroborate the facts, either using Internet sources or using library resources, e.g., reference materials or indexing publications?
  • Has the author put in the effort to use good grammar and correct spelling?
  • Who is the intended audience for this work?
    • General audience - written for people with an 8th - 12th grade education
    • Professional - written for those with an undergraduate college education
    • Specialized - written for those with an interest in a specialized area of study
  • Is the language and the word selection understandable and appropriate for the intended readership? Is it too simple or too difficult?
Bias/Point of View
  • What is the purpose of the document...
    - to inform/explain?
    - to persuade/advocate a position?
    - to sell?
    Does this reflect a particular bias in viewpoint?
  • Who is the intended audience, e.g., professionals, students, consumers, advocates, etc.?
    Does this affect the scope or bias of the information presented?
  • Does the author distinguish facts from opinions?
  • Are sources or viewpoints missing that you might expect to be present?
  • When was the document created and when was it last updated? (This is often specified at the end of the document.)
  • Do pages take a long time to load?
  • Is the site well organized and logically arranged?
  • Can you navigate the site without confusion?
  • Is the text easy to read against the background?
  • Are links helpful and relevant?
  • Do graphics enhance (or distract from) the utility of the site?

Smith, Alastair G. "Testing the Surf: Criteria for Evaluating Internet Information Resources." The Public-Access Computer Systems Review 8, no. 3 (1997). []

Webliographies of sites that discuss the evaluation of Internet resources

Keith Stanger
Bruce T. Halle Library
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Created: October 19, 1996   Updated: July 26, 2015


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