Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources
by Esther Grassian, UCLA College Library
The World Wide Web has a lot to offer, but not all sources are equally
valuable or reliable. Here are some points to consider. For additional
points regarding Web sites for subject disciplines, see Thinking
Critically about Discipline-Based World Wide Web Resources.
Content & Evaluation
- Who is the audience?
- What is the purpose of the Web Page & what does it contain?
- How complete and accurate are the information and the links provided?
- What is the relative value of the Web site in comparison to the range
of information resources available on this topic? (Note: Be sure
to check with a librarian.)
- What other resources (print & non-print) are available in this
- What are the date(s) of coverage of the site and site-specific documents?
- How comprehensive is this site?
- What are the link selection criteria if any?
- Are the links relevant and appropriate for the site?
- Is the site inward-focused, pointing outward, or both?
- Is there an appropriate balance between inward-pointing links ("inlinks")&
outward-pointing links ("outlinks")?
- Are the links comprehensive or do they just provide a sampler?
- What do the links offer that is not easily available in other sources?
- Are the links evaluated in any way?
- Is there an appropriate range of Internet resources -- e.g., links
- Is multimedia appropriately incorporated?
- How valuable is the information provided in the Web Page (intrinsic
Source & Date
- Who is the author or producer?
- What is the authority or expertise of the individual or group that
created this site?
- How knowledgeable is the individual or group on the subject matter
of the site?
- Is the site sponsored or co-sponsored by an individual or group that
has created other Web sites?
- Is any sort of bias evident?
- When was the Web item produced?
- When was the Web item mounted?
- When was the Web item last revised?
- How up to date are the links?
- How reliable are the links; are there blind links, or references to
sites which have moved?
- Is contact information for the author or producer included in the document?
- Does the document follow good graphic design principles?
- Do the graphics and art serve a function or are they decorative?
- Do the icons clearly represent what is intended?
- Does the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling and literary
- Is there an element of creativity, and does it add to or detract from
the document itself?
- Can the text stand alone for use in line-mode (text only) Web browsers
as well as multimedia browsers, or is there an option for line-mode browsers?
- Is attention paid to the needs of the disabled -- e.g., large print
and graphics options; audio?
- Are links provided to Web "subject trees" or directories
-- lists of subject-arranged Web sources?
- Is appropriate interactivity available?
- When it is necessary; to send confidential information out over the
Internet, is encryption (i.e., a secure coding system) available? How secure
- Are there links to search engines or is a search engine attached to
(embedded in) the Web site?
Prepared June 1995 by Esther Grassian, Electronic Services
Coordinator, UCLA College Library
Copyright (c) 1997
All Rights Reserved
Permission is granted for unlimited non-commercial use of this
To contact the author, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
College Library Instruction Guides / College
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Comments to: College Library
Last update 11/5/97 E. Grassian