How Credible Is The Source
You find a lot of information on the web, but how trustworthy is it? Questioning the credibility of the source of information should be a habit, mainly because there is such a wealth of unreliable information in cyberspace.
Remember to always look for an “about us” link to tell you something about who is behind the site, where they are physically located, and how you can reach them via telephone. One should always approach a website with the same skepticism you would use when analyzing a magazine, newspaper, book, door-to-door salesperson, etc. You should be able to quickly tell who they are and what they have to say about themselves.
To find out who owns a website, plus the domain name, look to a site such as Geek Tools (www.geektools.com) which looks at the whois database of domain name registrations. Other sites you can use to research websites include BetterWhoIs.com for US sites that end in .com, org, or net as well as www.allwhois.com, which you can use for global sites.
Amazon.com owns a site called Alexa (www.alexa.com) which helps you identify a page’s traffic (more is better), how long it has been online (longer is better), and how many sites link to it (if reputable sites link to it, there’s more credibility).
To access an extensive list of links to groups that try to educate the public about bad information on the Web, hate information, and online scams, you can visit The Virtual Chase: Legal Research On The Internet (www.virtualchase.org). This site, originally designed for legal professionals, will teach you how to perform research on the Web and gives you guidance as to how to evaluate the information you receive (see page 8 of this publication).
Remember, as with anything in print, the information you receive on the Web is NOT necessarily true. Data can be false and the source can be false. Check it out!
Source: PCWorld—April 2004.