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Evaluating Web Sites For The Academic Community: Welcome

Welcome To Atkins Library

Purpose Of This Guide

This guide is designed to help the college student select appropriate web sites for his/her college papers and projects.

We know that the World Wide Web is a vast collection of information.  So is the college library.  To begin this selection process, let's look at the first two columns in the chart below in order to see how information in a college library compares to information on the World Wide Web. Finally, the third column shows how to select appropriate world wide web sides within an academic setting.

Evaluating Web Sites For The Academic Community

Information In A College Library Information On The Internet
AppropriateWeb Sites For College Students
Kinds Of Materials Many, many books and articles. Many, many "pages," some being books and articles. May be articles, books, or just web pages.
Organization Of Materials Information is cataloged, with subject headings and call numbers.  Some information is found in the library on shelves; other information is contained in subscription databases. Information is not cataloged with call numbers. The World Wide Web is available to everyone on a non-subscription basis.
Inclusion Of Information In Library and Internet Information for inclusion in library is usually selected by a professional, either a librarian or a teaching faculty member. Anyone may publish something on the Internet.
Authorship of Information In Library and Internet Writers of the information in library materials frequently have professional credentials appropriate for the written material. Authorship of information on internet is not regulated. Author of web sites have appropriate credentials. Beware of authors whose expertise is not identifiable, or whose expertise is not appropriate for the information.
Mission/Purpose Of Information In Library and Internet Mission and purpose of the information in the library frequently meets the goals of the curricula of the university, (including students' assignments). Mission and purpose of information on the Internet is not stated. Beware of web sites that are advertisements.
Bias Of Information In Library and Internet Bias of information in library information is frequently appropriate to the curricula of the university (including students' assignments). Bias of information on the Internet is not regulated. All information has bias. Is the "bias" appropriate for your assignment?
Timeliness of Information In Library and Internet Information in library materials frequently reflects the latest research. Information on the Internet may or may not reflect latest research. The timeliness of the information should be appropriate.

Web Sites For Examination

To try your skills at evaluating appropriate web sites, look at the following Internet sources, imagining you are looking for reliable information on the health risks of smoking: