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Evaluating Resources on the Web

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Tip #2: Is the PUBLISHER reliable?

Questions to ask:

How reliable is the publisher (site) of the web page?

  • Is this a national or international organization?
  • Is this site sponsoring the author's page or just providing web space?
  • Does the site provide a contact for further information?


Knowing about the organization that sponsors a site can sometimes provide clues for further investigation. Educational, non-profit and commercial sites tend to sponsor different kinds of information. However, unless you know something about the sponsoring organization, just knowing their name is no guarantee of quality.


Identify the domain of the site (what are the last letters of the URL?). Look for "about this site" links and follow them to find what the organizations have to say about themselves. Backtrack through the hierarchy of the URL (also known as truncation). This will often take you to the main home page of the organization where relevant information may be found.


The original publisher of this web site was the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. When the site was transferred to its authors, the original .edu domain was dropped and .com was substituted. The .edu in the URL indicated that it was an academy or college site. IMSA is a state funded learning laboratory for gifted students. Since going .com, the publisher's reputation now depends on the authors, not IMSA, although the authors' close association with IMSA adds to their credibility.