Hege Library & Learning Technologies

ART 100: Introduction to the Visual Arts

How to Find & Evaluate Web Sources

Consider the following when evaluating information from the Web as a possible source for your research:


  • Who is the author? Check for “About,” “Bio,” “Background” or other links. 
  • The information may be presented by an organization (government, nonprofit, business, etc.), this is called a corporate author.
  • What are their credentials, and are those credentials relevant to the topic?
  • What is the domain of the website? Government (.gov) and educational (.edu) sources are generally considered more authoritative than commercial (.com) or organizational (.org) sources. Some .orgs do belong to nonprofit or other trustworthy organizations, but be sure to evaluate the content.


  • If the author is an individual a group of individuals, what are their affiliations? Do they work for a government agency, academic institution, political organization, or company?
  • If affiliated with an organization, or a corporate author, is there a possible profit, political, or other motive or bias that might influence the information provided?


Wikipedia can be very useful for giving an introduction to or an overview of a topic, helping to develop keywords for use in your research using library databases, and can even point you towards other sources (check the references listed at the bottom of the article) but many scholars don't consider Wikipedia a credible source for their own or their students' research. The following video explains why: