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PolyU Library

Evaluate free information on the Internet: Home


Vast amount of information is available on the Internet. It's easy to find, and it's free. However, as anyone can post information on the Internet, the quality and authority of information may vary a lot. Fake websites, satire websites are abundant and popular. Therefore, we should be cautious when choosing information from the Internet. This Guide provides links for criteria and methods of evaluating free resources on the Internet.

Common Evaluation Criteria

  • Authority
Authority is the extent to which material is the creation of a person or group recognized as having definitive knowledge of a given subject area.
  • Accuracy
Accuracy is the extent to which information is reliable and free from errors.
  • Objectivity

Objectivity is the extent to which material expresses facts or information without distortion by personal feelings or other biases.

  • Currency
Currency is the extent to which material can be identified as up to date.
  • Coverage & intended audience
Coverage is the range of topics included in a work and the depth to which those topics are addressed. the intended audience is the group of people for whom the material is created.

Source: Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web (2nd Ed.); by Marsha Ann Tate

Call no. : TK5105.888 .A376 2010


Learn to evaluate:


  (I) Internet Resources with information to help you to evaluate websites:

Georgetown University Library Evaluating Internet Resources
UC Berkeley Library Evaluating Web pages: Techniques to apply & questions to ask
John Hopkins University Library Evaluating Information Found on the Internet
Teacher Tap - Professional Development Resources Educators and Librarians Evaluating Internet Resources
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Evaluating Websites for Accessibility: Overview

(II) The following creditable websites, which match the above 5 major criteria for evaluation, can be considered to use in an academic context:

.com .gov

The New York Times (

HKSAR Government (

Time Magazine ( Hong Kong Observatory (
CNN ( Department of Justice (
Oxford University Press ( Department of Justice: Bilingual Laws Information System (
Financial Times ( U.S. Department of State (
.edu/ .ac .int
Harvard University ( World Health Organization (
University of Cambridge ( World Intellectual Property Organization (
University of Oxford ( United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (
Princeton University ( European Central Bank (
Yale University ( Interpol (
.net .org
ACADEMICINFO ( Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (
Welcome2taiwan ( International Information Management Association (
Slideshare ( Hong Kong Red Cross (
EDUCAUSE Whois database ( Cambridge University Press (
The Internet's Network Information Center ( New York Public Library (

Teaching Tools:

(I) Misleading websites:

Some websites were designed to be intentionally misleading. These websites may be parodies, satire, hoaxes, or designed to show students the importance of questioning information found on the web.
Source: Teacher Tap - Professional Development Resources Educators and Librarians

Parodies/ satire : actually these are fake news, mainly for irony and humor. For example: Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Hoaxes: provide misleading information. For example: Museum of Hoaxes

(II) Websites on fraud prevention and fact checking:

After reviewing the above criteria for judging websites, you may try using the resources from the following two websites to develop your own critical evaluation skills.