- Who is the author? Is there an author listed? Signed articles are the best sources. If you can not identify the author, organization or corporation that wrote the web page or posted the information, do not use it.
- What are the author's credentials? Is the author an authority on the topic? What expertise does the author have?
- Is there a sponsor/company or location of the site appropriate to the material? Domain names in the URL can provide clues:
- .edu for education or research material from educational institutions
- .gov for government resources
- .com for commercial products or commercially-sponsored sites.
- .net for an Internet Service Provider
- .org for organization (not for profit)
- A tilde ( ~ ) as part of a URL may mean a personal home page with no official sanction, even if there is a .edu or .com in the URL.
- Is there an email account to send questions or comments? Or an address to contact the author or producer?
- Choose sources from established publishers over ones about which you know little.
- Web databases subscribed to by the UW-Stout Library contain articles and references from respected sources. Examples of licensed databases available in Articles and Databases are EbscoHost, ABI/ Inform, Academic Search Premier and NewsBank.
- Use information from government agencies, trade and professional associations, major universities or research centers. If you need to know more about an association, try searching for it in Associations Unlimited.
- Check to see if the URL moves or disappears abruptly. Reliable publishers establish markers to new locations of web pages.
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