Critically about World Wide Web Resources
Grassian, UCLA College Library
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
is the audience?
is the purpose of the Web Page & what does it contain?
complete and accurate are the information and the links provided?
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.)
other resources (print & non-print) are available in this area?
are the date(s) of coverage of the site and site-specific documents?
comprehensive is this site?
are the link selection criteria if any?
the links relevant and appropriate for the site?
the site inward-focused, pointing outward, or both?
there an appropriate balance between inward-pointing links (
i.e., within the same site) & outward-pointing links (
i.e., to other sites)?
the links comprehensive or do they just provide a sampler?
do the links offer that is not easily available in other sources?
the links evaluated in any way?
there an appropriate range of Internet resources -- e.g., links to gophers?
multimedia appropriately incorporated?
valuable is the information provided in the Web Page (intrinsic value)?
is the author or producer?
is the authority or expertise of the individual or group that created this site?
knowledgeable is the individual or group on the subject matter of the site?
the site sponsored or co-sponsored by an individual or group that has created
other Web sites?
any sort of bias evident?
was the Web item produced?
was the Web item mounted?
was the Web item last revised?
up to date are the links?
reliable are the links; are there blind links, or references to sites which
contact information for the author or producer included in the document?
the document follow good graphic design principles?
the graphics and art serve a function or are they decorative?
the icons clearly represent what is intended?
the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling and literary composition?
there an element of creativity, and does it add to or detract from the document
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?
attention paid to the needs of the disabled -- e.g., large print and graphics options;
audio; alternative text for graphics?
links provided to Web
subject trees or directories -- lists
of subject-arranged Web sources?
usable is the site? Can visitors get the information they need within a
reasonable number of links (preferably 3 or fewer clicks)?
appropriate interactivity available?
it is necessary to send confidential information out over the Internet, is encryption
(i.e., a secure coding system) available? How secure is it?
there links to search engines or is a search engine attached to (embedded in)
the Web site?
Grassian holds a MLS in Library Science from UCLA and currently is the
Instructional Services Coordinator, UCLA College Library. Her professional
background includes teaching library and information sciences, and research to
create and experiment with use of an online database consisting of merged ready
reference file data. Her publications pertaining to various aspects of library
science include refereed journal articles, book chapters, books, and many Web
by Esther Grassian,
UCLA College Library @ 1997 Regents of the University of California.
Permission is granted
for unlimited non-commercial use of this guide.
Reproduced by the
CMSC with permission.