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Web Savvy -- General Guide: Personal Pages

A multi-page tutorial on evaluating web sites, for beginners and those who think they know.

Web Savvy -- Page 6 -- Personal Pages

Does this mean that you can not trust or use pages by ordinary people in your research?

You can sometimes use personal pages if your research covers a subject where ordinary people's words matter. Caregivers and survivors are experts in the psychosocial effects of disease and disability, self-help and support. Members of the public include experts on popular culture, cyberculture, or individual attitudes on a variety of subjects. Members of the general public are also an excellent source for product reviews and classified advertising.

There are also well known writers who publish their own and others' works on personal sites. Such sites include: http://www.lewrockwell.com and http://www.gladwell.com.

Generally personal web sites are more reliable and trustworthy if the person creating them signs his or her first and last name, and supplies information that ties them to the "real world" such as a mailing address, writings published in print, or an external authority such as a newspaper or bank that vouches for them. To learn more about assessing truth in personal accounts, visit Notes of a Pam Watcher.

Finally, Curlie and Dot-Dash's older sites have members of the general public serving as editors or guides. (As of May 2020, the editor links at Curlie lead to broken pages. Hopefully this is a temporary glitch.)These editors use their first and last names, and their names often lead to short biographies.

Here are some sample personal pages and their authors...

Thumbnail of Sonja's Pain Page.
Click on this thumbnail to see a personal site where the author does NOT sign her full name.

Thumbnail of Malcolm McGregor's Facebook Page.
Click on this thumbnail to see a personal web site (Facebook pge) with last name and contact information.