When choosing resources to use you must take into account the accuracy of the information you are accessing. While materials in the library collection, print and electronic, are reviewed and considered reliable, ultimately you are responsible for the data you use in your work. Therefore, you will want to keep in mind a few things when choosing sources.

  • Is the author an expert in their field? Are they a credible source?
  • How old is the information? (This is especially important when looking for information about rapidly changing subjects like technology and natural sciences.)
  • Is the information objective? Does the author skew information to support their needs or beliefs? (While you may want to use biased ideas for some assignments, generally you will want neutral information to express clear accurate ideas.)                                                                                                                                                            

When using web sources you find on your own it is especially important to evaluate the authority of a website. It is relatively easy to throw together a website and post anything on it. Just because the information is out there does not mean it is good. The following website, by the Cornell University Library, provides a chart with easy to use criteria for judging website authority.