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spacerEvaluating Information Sources

Applying the CRAAP Test when evaluating information.

Librarians at California State University, Chico's Meriam Library put together a one-page worksheet to use when evaluation inforamtion sources. The CRAAP Test can be used to determine if a resource is good or not.


Criteria for Evaluating Websites
  • Appearance: What is the overall impression of the site? Is it the layout well designed and professional looking? Is there a news, journal, or company banner, or other form of advertising present?
  • Authority: Who wrote the page? Is the author's name listed — what is the source of the information? Do you recognize the name/source?
  • Ownership: Is the site copyrighted? Are there instructions as to how the content may be used?
  • Location: Check the URL (site address). Is this someone's home page? What type of domain name does it have (.edu, .org, .gov, .com, etc.)?
  • Purpose/Audience: Who is the site aimed at? Is it meant to inform, or to sell something?
  • Content: What is the quality of the writing? Are there obvious typos or information that is blatantly false? How does the data compare with what you have found elsewhere?
  • Uniqueness: Is the information valuable, or does it duplicate what you already know? Is it worth using or re-checking at a later date?
  • Currency:Is the information dated? Check for the date the page was last up-dated. If there is no date listed on the page itself, click on Page Info (under View or Communicator on your menu bar) and check the last modified date.
  • Connectivity: Did you find the site through a link from another reputable source? Does the site contain links to other reputable sources?
  • Reviews/Awards: Awards and positive reviews show that the page has been recognized by peer groups or information professionals.
  • Stability of Content: How often is the site updated, and is the quality consistent? Will you use the site again? Good sites are candidates for bookmarking.


Examples

The following sites all provide information on frogs, but from a variety of different perspectives. Visit and judge for yourself:

  • An Introduction to the Natural History of the Frogs and Toads of Ohio
    Authority: This site was created by a Ph. D.
    Location: Hosted by a non-profit organization (.org), and not a commercial (.com) or personal (.net) site.
    Purpose/Audience: To inform and educate.

  • Frogweb (formerly located at http://www.frogweb.gov/)
    Ownership: This site was maintained by the National Biological Information Infrastructure.
    Location: It was hosted on a government server (.gov).
    Currency: "In the President's budget for Fiscal Year 2012, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), a program under the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Information Management and Delivery Program, was terminated. As a result, the funding that facilitated the NBII Node partnerships, as well as the development and maintenance of databases, applications and systems, is no longer available. On January 15, 2012, all NBII websites/applications with an *.nbii.gov URL were removed from the internet.
    This website currently provides the latest information on communications with partners, the disposition status of NBII Web sites, data and applications, and general FAQs related to the NBII Program's termination. The NBII Program close-out will be complete on September 30, 2012, and the www.nbii.gov URL will be turned off on that date. The termination information provided here will be made available on the USGS FAQ site after September 30, 2012."

  • "UCLA scientists discover ultrasonic communication among frogs"
    Authority: This is an online press release. The author is immediately apparent, and there is a link to the newspaper in which the article appeared.
    Location: The site is hosted on an educational institution's server (.edu).
    Ownership: Copyright information appears at the bottom of the site.
    Currency:: The press release is dated May 8, 2009.

  • The legend of the pinging frogs
    Authority: This is a personal blog page.
    Location: Hosted by blogspot.com (.com).
    Content: The style of writing is not scientific, nor is the subject matter.
    Purpose/Audience: Entertainment. Currency: This blog entry is dated June 29, 2009.

  • Frogland
    Content: Care of frogs. There are a couple of typos.
    Purpose/Audience: Education/Entertainment of frog owners.
    Authority: Site owner's first name is given, but no qualifications are listed.
    Location: Hosted on a non-profit (.org) server.
    Currency: Date last modified not provided.

  • A Thousand Friends of Frogs
    Authority: Maintained by Center for Global Environmental Education at Hamline University.
    Currency: Last updated 5/4/01.
    Purpose/Audience: Education -- K-12 educators, children, and families.
    Reviews/Awards: Received Nearctica's "Editor's Choice Award" and is an Internet Scout Project Kids selection.

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