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Evaluate free information on the Internet

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 Topical Research 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 subjet area.
  • Accuracy
Accuracy is the extent to which informtaion is reliable and free from errors.
  • Objectivity

Objectivity is the extent to whcih 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
  • UC Berkeley Library
  • John Hopkins University Library
  • Teacher Tap - Professional Development Resources Educators and Librarians
  • W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

(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 (  
Thomson Reuters ( The Basic Law (  
BBC WebWise ( Census and Statistics Department (  
About ( CIA World Factbook (  
Google Map ( Library of Congress (  
Financial Times ( U.S. Department of State (  
Mendeley ( Australian Commonwealth Government (  
.edu/ .ac .int  
EDUCAUSE ( World Health Organization (  
Johns Hopkins University ( World Trade Organization (  
Harvard University ( World Intellectual Property Organization (  
Hong Kong Polytechnic University ( European Space Agency Portal (  
University of Cambridge ( European Central Bank (  
University of Oxford ( International Telecommunication Union (  
Princeton University ( Interpol (  
Yale University ( United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (  
University of Sydney ( Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (  
City University of Hong Kong ( EUROCONTRO (  
.net .org  
Official Microsoft website ( Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (  
ACADEMICINFO ( Wikipedia (  
Welcome2taiwan ( International Information Management Association (  
Slideshare ( IBS Center for Management Research (  
EDUCAUSE Whois database ( ipl2: information you can trust (  
The Internet's Network Information Center ( Cambridge University Press (  
The Official Microsoft WPF and Windows Forms Site ( TV5 Monde (  
HtmlToPdf Converter ( New York Public Library (  
Centerspace Software ( Hong Kong Red Cross (  
Webhosting ( ORBIS (  

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:
Hoaxes: provide misleading information. For example:  

(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.

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Last updated: Jun 2013