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Information Literacy: Finding Websites

An Information Literate Student is a Successful Student

Alternatives to Google

While commercial search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! can find plenty of results, those results may not be adequate for college-level research. Try these academic search engines instead.

There is a Shortcut!

BCC's librarians have already done some of the legwork of finding research-quality websites for you! All you need to do is go to our subject guides.

Click on the link below. Once you're in a subject guide, look for the tab "Websites."

Website Evaluation Criteria

So you want (or are required) to use information from websites as part of your research project. You've done so many Google searches and liked the first or second result of those searches that doing the same for college-level research should be a snap, right?
Not Quite.   Websites you would like to cite in college-level research need to meet several criteria, and they
should be evaluated using many of the same criteria you would apply to book, journal or other sources. Let's review those criteria:

  1. AUTHORITY - Who is the author of the website? Are they an expert in the subject? What are their credentials? (To find out who is beind a website, check for "About us" on the homepage.)
  2. CURRENCY - Is the material up-to-date? When was the site or page last updated? (Many websites list when they were last updated at the bottom of the page)
  3. ACCURACY - Is the information reliable? Is it free from, or have a minimum, of bias? Is the publisher of the site a reliable source?
  4. URL - This tells you a lot about a site. Is it a .com, .org, .gov or .edu? A .gov is a government site. A .edu is an educational site, such as a college, university, K-12 school, or, in some cases, a museum (Such as The Clark in Williamstown). A .org is often with a nonprofit organization, while a .com often denotes a commercial site of some kind.

Criteria for Evaluating Fake News Stories

Incorporating accurate information from reliable sources is very important when researching for your assignment.  Beware of fake news sites, "alternative facts", information on the web lacking sufficient documentation, and rumor.  

 Off-campus access for the videos below is by authentication with your Student ID/library card.

Subject Guide

Karen Carreras-Hubbard's picture
Karen Carreras-Hubbard
Jonathan Edwards Library, Berkshire Community College
1350 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01085