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Chemistry Subject Guide: Useful Websites

Evaluating Internet Resources

When using Internet resources, you must carefully evaluate the source of your information before utilizing its content. Evaluate your websites using the following criteria: 

Domain - the quality of information and the type of URL are interrelated. A ".gov" or ".edu" URL is more trustworthy than a ".com" or ".net". A ".org" URL will require deeper investigation, as it then depends on the type of organization. 

Authority - Is the author's name visible? What are the author's credentials? Is contact information for the author available?

Currency - Is the website up to date? Websites with information that is updated regularly are preferable to those that are left out-of-date or recycled too often. 

Bias - Since anyone can create informational content online, the Internet is often used as a sounding board for thoughts and opinions. Look out for a works cited list and advertisements to evaluate the bias and possible inaccuracies in the information. 

Origin - How did you find this source? Was it recommended by a faculty member, cited in a scholarly journal article, or was it linked by another trustworthy website? Where you got this information can indicate how reliable it might be. 

Functionality - If the website contains broken links, is difficult to navigate and malfunctions often, then it reflects poorly on the credibility of the information.