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Web Savvy -- General Guide: Authorship

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

Web Savvy -- Page 4 -- Authorship

When you find a web page that you would like to use in your research, how do you know that its content is reliable?

Look for its author. People and organizations with excellent reputations are proud of their work and want to be found. Individual authors sign their names, both first and last.

Such authors often include an email address or feedback form and "affiliation information" that explains the kind of work the author does or where he or she works. Sometimes you will even see a "real world" address and phone number.

Organizations of stature list their "real world" addresses and phone numbers. Some, but not all of them, have names you may recognize.

If you have trouble finding an author's name, affiliation, or location, look for Contact links.

Affiliation information may let you know whether an author is qualified. For example, a physician is not necessarily an expert on computer software used in an ordinary business office.

If you encounter an organization that you do not recognize or an individual author with an affiliation that you think is questionable, please ask a librarian or professor to view the web page.

Now take a look at two web sites and their authors...

Thumbnail of BMC Medical Genetics.
Click on this thumbnail to see a full text article with authors' names, affiliations, and real life work addresses.

Thumbnail of Dr. Janet Hull.
Click on this thumbnail to see screen views of a web site whose author may have questionable qualifications.