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ANS 381: Animal Science Seminar: Websites

Resources for Animal Science students taking the seminar.

Evaluating Web Sites

Know your APC’s: Authority, Purpose, and Currency

Almost any kind of document can be found on the Web. Web sites can be official government documents, opinionated blogs, specialized academic research, advertisements, newspapers, parodies, and political lobbying sites, to name just a few. It is important to realize that not all information on the Web has the same degree of reliability. When evaluating Web sites, it is important to know your APC’s:


  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author’s credentials?
  • Is the author affiliated with a larger institution?
  • Is the contact information provided to either mail or email the creator for further information?

Knowing who the author is can establish how much expertise the author has on the topic and what biases the author might have. Information on authority often can be found in the “About” or “Contact” section of a Web site.


  • Why was this site created?
  • For whom is this site intended?
  • Is the author trying to sell a product or service?
  • Is the author affiliated with an organization interested in promoting its own ideas?
  • Does the site link to other authoritative sites on the same topic?

Sometimes a site will indicate its point of view in the “About” section. Other times, a site will have bias or errors that are harder to spot. Considering the tone of the site, comparing the site to information in other sources, and considering what sort of site it is are some ways to check.


  • When was the site created?
  • When was the last time the site was updated?
  • Are the links to other sites still active?

Tip: Dead links are a sign that the Web site is not updated regularly. This should lead you to question the currency of the other information on the site.

For many topics, old information can be out-of-date and no longer accurate. Information about currency is often found by scrolling to the bottom of the home page. It may contain a date created, date last updated, or a copyright date.

Government and World Health Organization Websites

Other Resources

Your Librarian

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Mary Taylor
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Morris Library
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Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL