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ASD Elementary Library: Checking out Websites

Where to begin

Trivia Fact: Did you know...anyone can put up a site on the internet...and it is NOT illegal to intentionally put incorrect information on the site? Did you know that even adults can get fooled? That's why you need to become an A+ detective and look for clues to find out what type of site you are looking at. Check out the information below for ideas and questions to ask yourself.

Questions to think about

A good Web site has information you can trust.
These are some characteristics you should look for to determine if you have found a good Web site:

  • Is it believable? Does it make sense?
  • Are there obvious errors?
  • Can you fact check it for accuracy?
  • Can you easily find the organization that sponsors the site? Is the sponsor reputable? 
  • Why did the author publish this site? To inform the reader or to sell something?
  • Does the site load easily and the links work?
  • Is the site well organized? Easy to navigate and to locate information?
  • Does it support the research you are working on?
  • Can you tell when it was updated?

Extremely good websites are good in all these things. Remember, even adults can get tricked.

Read about Domain Names in the next column.

Domain Names

Detectives need to figure out why the author wrote the site - what was their purpose: to sell something, to teach you something, to be entertaining, or to convince you to help support their cause. Is the information biased or incomplete?

Check out the URL of the website (that's the address at the top that begins with: http://****). The address will include a domain name that will help you learn who is sponsoring the site and what kind of an organization they might be. 

Here are the most common domain names you'll see: 
.com - commercial organizations (they may be trying to sell you something. However, does sell items but is also a reliable organization with accurate information)
.org  - most of these are non-profit organizations, but not always
.edu - educational institutions - requires registration
.gov - government - requires registration
.net - organizations involved in internet services - original purpose but not anymore
.int  - international organizations
.k12 - k-12 school districts - requires registration
.kids - site developed for kids - usually elementary age
Ready to give it a try?
Check out this site - be ready to talk about it in about 5 minutes.  Burmese Mountain Dog

Use what you've learned

Now it's time to work with your partner...
Review these pages. What do you think? Are they valid, reliable websites? Why or why not?
Golf Cross   Click on the ball on the opening page
Just for fun, check out this can use what you've learned to analyze this one too. What we've done today doesn't just apply to webites...