As seasoned information professionals, we can sense them from a mile off: those bogus or misleading web sites which line the bottom of the internet like lees in a wine barrel.
We try to teach our clients and patrons how to discern the quality of sites on the web by using the five criteria of reliability and validity. The first is authority: what are the author’s credentials? We know that this can sometimes be determined by the suffix on the URL. For example, collegiate websites end in .edu; .org stands for non-profit organization. Governmental sites end in .gov; commercial web sites are capped by .com. Commercial sites exist to sell something. That is fine if you are trying to buy something, but otherwise, beware. Continue Reading →