Information Literacy Issues: Accuracy

Evaluate the accuracy of the site

Unless you already have a base knowledge of a particular field and its experts, how do you tell if information is "good"? One way is to measure it against information on the same topic in other formats. Or you may have found a rich source of information on your chosen topic by following a link from a page you judge to contain accurate information.

It is helpful to know if you are at a site that is referenced by other sites for its content. It may not be a citation in a printed bibliography, but it may mean that someone thought well enough of it to provide a link to it. Not many institutional sites provide links to badly constructed websites with inaccurate information.

Things to look for:

  • Is the topic appropriate for the site
  • Is the source of the information clearly posted
  • Who is the author/creator/publisher and what are his/her/their credentials
  • Are there references from other resources on the same or related topics
  • Has the site been reviewed by a professional organization or your peers

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Originally published May 1996 by Lida L. Larsen, Assistant Director, Collegial Relations and Information Services, Office of Information Technology, University of Maryland, College Park. Revised April 2006. Copyright Protected

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