--> Skip to Main Content
Library homepage

FYS 100:The Power of Place 2020 with Dr. Schnell: Evaluating Resources

Print and Internet Resources


  • Journals -- Have a Review board with experts in the field
  • Books -- Have an editor

Not Peer-Reviewed

  • Newspapers -- Have editors, but not a review board of peers
  • Magazines -- Same as Newspapers


Evaluating Webpages

From the KU information literacy module (http://www3.kutztown.edu/online/lib/kuinfolit/story_html5.html)

Start with the sites you know!

Check the URL:

  • Notes on Personal Pages:
    • Not always reliable, try to learn more about the author.
    • URL usually includes the person’s name.
    • If their name isn’t the site name, it will likely be in the URL after a tilde or percentage sign.

Type of Domain:

The domain type should match the content type:

.com = commercial

.edu = educational

.mil = military

.gov = government

.org = nonprofit

Who Published It?

  • Find the agency or person that published the article
  • Reliable publisher = reliable content and authors
  • Look at the first part of the URL between http:// and the first /.

Who Wrote It?

  • Find out who is accountable for the information.
  • Find the author/organization responsible for the content.
  • Look for a link or About Me/About Us/Background page that will tell you more about them
  • Look for info on their education and experience
  • Evaluate what you know about them and decide if you believe they are qualified to write about the topic.


  • An outdated source is not always credible.
  • Current topics: publishing dates are important
  • Outdated topics: date should be near the time the content became known.

Check Sources

  • Look at how sources are cited and what type of source is used.
  • Scholarly content should always have source info, and should not be an opinion piece.
  • Check the sources for reliability and workability.
  • If the content is reproduced from another source, go to the original source to ensure it has not been altered.

Links to the Site

  • Links from other reliable sites shows credibility
  • If they are the only one linking to the site (from other parts of their site) then it may not be reliable.
  • Find out who is linking to them:

Find Related Sites

Type the word LINK: into Google search box. Paste the URL directly after the colon, no spaces. Difference search engines may have different results so try more than one. If you don’t see any links, shorten the URL.

Overall Evaluation

  • Once you have reviewed all of this info, you can decide whether you believe
  • the source to be credible.
  • Since the internet is open to everyone, remember that you may be looking at false info or opinions instead of fact.
  • If you’re unsure, go to a reference desk in the library or use the library chat.


Sources:  Evaluation of Sources – Lee.edu; Evaluating Web Sources – Berkeley.edu