Honestly, it isn’t always easy to put trust in what you find online these days. Librarians often check multiple sources before providing an answer to customer questions. If it’s a research question we look to see if multiple experts in a particular field of study are saying the same thing. If so, the information is more likely to be reliable.
For the areas listed below, you want the information to be as current as possible:
Evaluating the Site Design
Website design is one of those things that we often overlook. And yes, there are a lot of legitimate websites out there using less than modern technology, but it’s still something to keep in mind when evaluating online resources.
Questions to ask:
Does the website look old or out of date?
Does it look professional?
Are there a lot of broken links?
Do the links lead to reliable sources?
Evaluating the Content
The people putting together fraudulent websites are really good at making their site look like the real deal. It’s up to the information consumer to be on the lookout for suspicious details.
Look for red flags:
Content includes a lot of bad grammar
Includes a lot of obvious spelling errors
Pay close attention to the URL:
Is it shortened or different in some way?
Does the entire URL look legitimate?
Does the web address contain spelling errors?
Is the website secure (https)?
IFLA made a very helpful infographic with eight simple steps to help users scrutinize news pieces, which is based on an article by FactCheck.org.