More than 100 databases are available on different topics. Visit All Databases to see the complete list.
- Biography In Context: Nearly a million biographical entries spanning history and geography.
- CultureGrams Online: Offers concise, reliable, and up-to-date information on the history, customs, and lifestyles of the various cultures of the world.
- Points of View Reference Center: Designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. The database provides 200 topics, each with an overview (objective background/description), point (argument) and counterpoint (opposing argument).
- World Book (Home): World Book Online Reference Center is a powerful reference tool for advanced researchers and information seekers. The site features thousands of e-books, tens of thousands of articles, and hundreds of thousands of primary source documents.
Who is the intended audience for the website? Children, teenagers, adults? General audience, professionals, students, researchers? Members of a certain group or proponents of a certain viewpoint? Try to determine what audience the maker of the website is trying to reach.
Why has this website been created? Is it to sell, to advertise, to inform, to persuade? The purpose of a website may not be stated clearly and directly.
- Who created the page and sponsored the website?
- Is there a link to a homepage? If so, is it for an individual or an organization?
- What credentials or experience does the author have? (occupation, education, experience) Credentials can be verified using college directories, search engines, Who’s Who, and other biographical sources.
- Does the author have other publications on this subject?
- Is there contact information? (email address, physical address or institution)
- Is there a sponsor for the website? What is the sponsor’s reputation?
- Check the address for clues as to the type of organization:
- .aero = airlines
- .biz = business
- .com = commercial company, usually for-profit
- .coop = cooperatives
- .edu = educational, usually colleges and universities
- .gov = government agency
- .info = information
- .mil = military
- .museum = museum
- .name = individuals
- .net = network, sometimes an internet service provider
- .org = organizations, usually non-profit
- .pro = professionals
- Is any bias evident? Does the author present the information objectively, from various points of view, or from one particular point of view?
- Does the author or sponsor have any known affiliation which would indicate a specific agenda or bias?
- To what extent does the information attempt to persuade or sway the audience?
- Does the information include vague statements, generalizations, stereotypes or emotional appeal?
Websites are rarely reviewed, refereed, or verified by an editor or fact checker, as are books and articles in scholarly journals. Remember, anyone can publish anything on the World Wide Web.
- Is the original source of information stated?
- When was the information originally created?
- When was the information last revised or edited? How much of the information was revised?
- Are the hyperlinks from the Web page still reliable?
- Is the document free of spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors?
- If possible, you may want to check some facts or quotes against the cited sources.
Dates are not always included on Web pages. Does the source indicate the date of the original? If present, Web page dates may indicate:
- The date the information was created
- The date the information was published to the web
- The date the information was last revised
- Does the website present an overview or a detailed discussion?
- Is the information comprehensive?
- What topics are included?
- What time periods are covered by the information?
- Are the hyperlinks from the site relevant and appropriate? Are they annotated? (Evaluate each linked site independently; the quality of pages may vary, even when linked from the same site.)
- What other kinds of sources are cited?
Handout adapted from Regis University Library.