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Web Page Evaluation: Context and Criteria: Home

Presents three sets of criteria for evaluating web pages.

Look at the Context. Use Evaluation Criteria

Context and Criteria

[ Context ] ~ [ Evaluation Criteria ] ~ [ Webliography ]

Context: The Primary Factor

The User Context: The most important factor when evaluating Web sites is your search, your needs. What are you using the Web for? Entertainment? Academic work? Hobbies or avocational interests? Scholarly sources are traditionally very strongly text-based. Compare the appearance and the content of an academic journal with a news source or a popular magazine.

The Web Context: Some of the visual distinctions that signal the nature of content in print sources hold true on the Web as well, although, because the Web encourages wider use of graphics, Web versions of printed works usually contain more graphics and more color than their print counterparts. Color graphics appeared on The New York Times Web site before they appeared in the print version of The New York Times, for instance.

Evaluation Criteria

--- Same as Print? Critically Analyzing Information Sources, Cornell University Library | Evaluating Resources, Ithaca College Library.

--- Evaluating Web Pages: Questions to Consider. (Jim Kapoun)

  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Currency
  • Objectivity
  • Coverage

--- Evaluating Quality on the Net. (Hope Tillman)

  • Stated criteria for inclusion of information
  • Authority of author or creator
  • Comparability with related sources
  • Stability of information
  • Appropriateness of format
  • Software/hardware/multimedia requirements


Critically Analyzing Information Sources: Ten Things to Look for When You Evaluate an Information Source. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Library, 2017. Web page.

Evaluating News Sources. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Library, 2017. Web page.

Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching Undergrads WEB Evaluation: A Guide for Library Instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523. | Online guide based on Kapoun: Evaluating Web Pages: Questions to Consider. Used with permission.

Research 101: Step 5, Evaluating Resources. Ithaca, NY: Ithaca College Library. Web page.

Tillman, Hope. Evaluating Quality on the Net. Final version, 28 March 2003. Blog post.

Last updated 27 November 2017 by Michael Engle
Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, New York 14853
Originally presented at New York Library Association Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, October 1996.

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