Evaluating Public Websites

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When doing research it is important to evaluate the quality of the information being gathered. It is especially important to evaluate the public Web because much of the information on it is not valid, reliable information.

This FORM can be used to help you evaluate the quality of the information found on any Website. Use the form whenever you are looking at any Website except .gov. [Note: The form also does not have to be used for .com when the information you want is about a company itself and its operations.]

The form is divided into two sections.

  • The first section contains four questions.
    • If the answer to any of the four questions is“no,” then the Website is not
      acceptable.
    • If the answer to all four questions is “yes,” then proceed to the second section.

  • The second section contains five items which are to be rated on a 1 to 10 scale.
    • Any item rated less than 6 automatically makes the Website unacceptable.
    • The total score on the second section must be 40 or above for the Website
      to be acceptable.

This form was developed by Vaughan C. Judd, Ph.D., Lucy I. Farrow, M.L.S., and
Betty J. Tims, M.L.S. For further information about the development of the form see: “Evaluating Public Website Information: A Process and an Instrument,” Reference
Services Review, vol. 34, no. 1.

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