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Evaluating Resources: Home

Domain Authority

What does the domain reveal about a website's true purpose? The domain is the primary web address for a site, usually composed of the last portion of the address, i.e. or

The first three sites below are all "IRS" sites, but only one actually represents the government agency. 

Tip: WHOIS behind that domain? identifies the registered owner of a website.

.gov Government agency:
.net Network provider:
.com Commercial site:
.edu Higher education:
.mil Military site:
.org Organization, may be charitable, religious or a lobbying group:

Five Criteria for Evaluating Sources

• What stated goals or objectives does this resource meet?
Is its purpose commercial, educational, informative or personal?
• How detailed and factual is the information versus opinion-based?
Is the information balanced or colored with a political, commercial, or
  religious point of view?
• If a website, does the domain indicate what type of institution published it?
• Is the resource from a peer-reviewed journal or published by a scholarly or
  educational organization?
• Is the author identifiable and someone other than a "webmaster"?
• Does the author/publisher list qualifications, and can they be verified? 
• Does the author provide facual information verifiable in other resources?
• Is the information clear, legible, well organized and error-free?
• Does the author cite his/her sources? Are research methods explained?
• Is an editor, reviewer or collaborator named who verified content?
• Are topics in this resource analyzed in depth or just summarized?
• Does the resource cover all aspects of a topic or state the criteria for
  select coverage?
• Does this work substantiate other sources or update other information? 
• When was the resource produced and/or updated?
• If the resource is a website, are the links active and current?
• Is the resource referenced by other sources?


This guide was adapted from a resource available at Cornell University Library.


Hoaxes present a continuing challenge to evaluating information on the Internet.
Several examples of organizations and their websites are given below to test your Evaluation IQ.

RYT Hospital

The Ova Prima Foundation

World Trade Organization

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division


McWhortle Enterprises, Inc.

Indiana Wesleyan University - Jackson Library

Lewis A. Jackson Library

4201 S. Washington St.
Marion, IN 46953

Off Campus Library Services (OCLS)