Identifying Web-Based Resources

There once were clearer lines between “print” and “web-based” sources. It is more confusing now. Most print newspapers, magazines and journals also have a web presence. Most of those websites replicate print content and also provide web-only content. Is a blog post on a newspaper’s website a blog post or is it a newspaper article? It can be very hard to tell.

This is the long way of saying — don’t be afraid to ask for help! It may seem like these are easy questions, but they are not. If you try the tips below and you’re still not sure how to identify a source, ask your instructor for help, or ask for help.

Find out what you can about the publication.
  1. Look for an About page on the website.
  2. If the About page is not on the same page as your source, backtrack the URL to find the main page for the site. For example, if your source is at http://www.pretendsource.com/articles/overview.html, back up and look at the page at http://www.pretendsource.com/
  3. Look at the bottom of the page for a copyright or authorship statement.
  4. Find out if the company, organization, publication or individual has a Wikipedia page.
Find out what you can about the organization, company or individual who publishes the website.

Follow the same steps to find out about the people or company behind the site.

Watch “Evaluating Sources on the Web”

Bottom line: on the web, it can be difficult to tell what type of source you’re looking at and whether or not it’s something that would provide quality evidence for your assignment. This video (4:31) will help you look more critically at your own search results.

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