Information found online varies in quality and reliability. Along with trustworthy information you may encounter inaccurate or outdated information,spoofs, and deliberate misinformation.
Use the CRAAP Criteria to help you determine if the quality of the source.
On a web page the most common place to find the author's name is at top or bottom of the page. Here are some strategies for determining the author's credentials:
|POINT OF VIEW & PURPOSE||
Evaluating information found on the public Web presents special challenges. You may want to consider the purpose of the site and to think critically as to why the organization sponsoring the site is providing the information.
.co and .com.co websites are often associated with spreading false news and entertainment stories.
Commercial (.com) sites are often designed to sell products and services. Some sites may only provide information that puts their goods or services in the best light.
Educational institution (.edu) sites can be excellent sources of information on a wide variety of topics. Many universities host research centers that publish information and reports via the university web site.
Please note that educational institutions often host personal pages by faculty or students, which may be of varying quality and reliability and not reflect the standards or viewpoints of the hosting institution. Please make sure to evaluate authority!
Government (.gov) are used by various government agencies to distribute a wide variety of information. Use them to find facts, statistics, and other information.
News sites are generally reliable in terms of providing the facts relating to a news story. However, the editorial content relating to why an incident occurred or what should happen next can vary depending upon the views of the ownership, editors, etc. and can be biased accordingly. Some news sites make efforts to provide balanced editorial commentary.
Organizations (their URLs usually end it with .org) provide information about subjects and issues that are important to and relate to the organization both for its members (this information may be available only by subscription) and the public.
Please note that the information may be biased according to the views and beliefs of members of the organization and/or values of the profession or group.
Advocacy (.org) sites are similar to organization sites, but their main purpose is to educate the public on what are usually very specific issues. The organization advocating for a specific cause and they will likely only provide information that encourages you to take their side of the issue. For a balanced view, you should try to locate an advocacy site on the other side of the issue.
This inforgraphic is created by IFLA (international Federation of Library Associations). It is based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News.
Fact-checking and fake news debunking sites
Reputable fact-checking organizations focused on U.S. national news:
Algorithms are complex computational formulas used by online platforms like Google and Amazon to keep us engaged with their products and services. They collect data based on our online activity and use that data to tailor what we see... and what we don't see
Since the information we see is personalized based on assumptions about us, we are less likely to see diverse perspectives or conflicting points of view. The internet becomes an echo chamber reinforcing our beliefs.
Click on the image to display the full-size inforgraphic.
From "Algorithmic Literacy" in the Citizen Literacy Guide created by Robert Detmering, Amber Willenborg, and Terri Holtze for University of Louisville Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Conspiracy theories are sets of often erroneous beliefs that people use to explain malevolent and/ or unlawful acts that are perceived to be directed by and in favor of a small and powerful group that works in secret against a larger group of unwitting victims.
Reid, S. A., & Reid. (2009). Conspiracy theories. In J. M. Levine, & M. A. Hogg (Eds.), Encyclopedia of group processes and intergroup relations. Sage Publications. Credo Reference.
The past few years have seen a rise in the number of predatory journals. These journals invite faculty and researchers to publish and often accept articles without reading them. They charge publication fees without providing any editorial or publishing services.
Publishing an article in a predatory journal may damage your reputation.
To learn more about recognizing and avoiding predatory journals, please refer to the excellent guide Scholarly Publishing: Predatory Publishing from Himmelfarb Library:
Selected sites to help you identify hoaxes, scams, etc.
University of Cincinnati Libraries
PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033