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PBH 101 (Hammond) Online Library Resources

Evaluating Sources

Unlike books or articles that are reviewed before they are published, anyone can post anything on the Web.  There are no Internet editors who decide that a particular website is worthy to be “published.” The author of a website may have done a lot of research and put scholarly, valid information on the page.  On the other hand he or she may have done very poor research or no research at all.  The author may be biased and trying to persuade you to agree with a particular point of view or buy a particular product.  So when you are searching the Web you need to be certain to choose reputable sources. It is important for you to evaluate your sources and make certain your website is reliable.

  • Click the Tabs in this box for a list of questions to ask when you are evaluating websites.

CURRENCY

    Is there a copyright date?
    When was the site last updated?

AUTHORITY

    Who is authoring the information? Is this a government (.gov), educational (.edu), or commercial (.com) website?
    Is it clear who sponsors the site and what the sponsor’s purpose is?
    Is this a recognized organization or individual?
    Is there information on how to contact them?
    Is there a list of references?

 

ACCURACY

    Does the information appear to be accurate (spelling, format, etc.)?
    Are the webpages easy to navigate, structurally sound, and usable?
    Can you verify the information elsewhere?
    Do others in the field review the content of the site?

OBJECTIVITY

    What goals do the pages meet?
    What biases are reflected in the site?
    Is the information intended to persuade the audience?
    Does this site link only to similar points-of-view?

COVERAGE

    Is the Web site still under construction?
    Does the site provide a comprehensive range of thought and theory on the subject?

FINAL QUESTIONS

    Is the site relevant to my topic?
    Is this the best information I can find on my topic?
    Does this site complement material I have already gathered?

Tutorial: Evaluating Internet Health Information

Health Information Tutorial

MedLinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for the general public. MedLinePlus was created by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, and provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in easy to understand language. MedLinePlus hosts the National Library of Medicine's Evaluating Internet Health Information Tutorial.

Guidelines for Evaluating Health Related Content Online

Medical Library Association Logo

The Medical Library Association

The Medical Library Association has created it's own list of Guidelines for Evaluating Health Related Content Online. This list was developed by librarians who work with doctors and other clinicians as well as patients to find reliable health information.

Suggested Health Websites

Guide to Health and Wellness

For more website suggestions, check out the library's Guide to Health and Wellness.

Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography