Criteria for Evaluating Information Resources: Electronic & Print

Authority

Author(s):

Is the resource signed? Do you know who the author is?
What are the credentials of the author? -- journalist, professional, student, company employee, interested person?

Information provider:

What is the reputation of the information provider?
Do book publishers regularly publish in this discipline?
For journals, is there an editorial review board?
How is an Internet site associated with the topic?

Fact vs. Opinion:

Is the author and/or information publisher biased?
Does either have a vested interest in the topic?
Are facts supported by documented evidence?
Is supporting material (pictures, charts, references, links. etc.) relevant to the document?
Have they been omitted, but shouldn't be?

Organization:

Does the resource include: a table of contents, a theses statement, an index, appendixes, and/or a summary or abstract?

Currency:

Is information up-to-date?
Are links maintained?

References to other resources:

Are references/links included?
What is the quality of the references?


Scope

Primary source

Original document/resource, or first-hand account.
Examples are speeches, text of legal documents, diaries and manuscripts.

Specific facts

Definitions, statistics, dates, etc.
Print example: dictionary

In-depth information

Usually on a specific or narrow topic focuses on a particular aspect of a topic
Print example: journal articles

Background information

Overview of topic
often includes definitions, history, information on major aspects of topic
shows topic in perspective to related topics
Print example: encyclopedia

List of relevant sources

Print example: bibliography
Electronic example: list of WWW links


Tone/Style

Popular

For general public

Scholarly

Produced by and for experts/specialists in the field; usually well researched

Advertisement vs. Informational


Timeliness

Current Information

Attempts to provide up-to-the minute information on a topic

Contemporary

Information Produced a relatively short time after the event occurred

Retrospective

Information Produced a relatively long time after the event occurred