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Modern Languages & Literatures: Web Resources

Literature and French, Italian, German, and Spanish Language Sources at Fordham Libraries; Librarian Shira Atkinson, Editor.

Quality Websites

Don't forget to evaluate your websites; use the criteria listed below.

See the page listed below the Web Resources page above (Web Sites in Language & Literature) to find quality websites in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Search Criteria for Websites

  • It is often difficult to determine if websites are accurate and reliable. Evaluate the source to make sure you have selected a quality site for your research. Not everything found on the web is worthy of use.
     
  • Use the Evaluation Criteria below taken from Lesson 5 of the Fordham Library Research Tutorial, accessible from the library home page.
     
  • The following criteria should be applied to all types of information sources: Web, print, and broadcast. 
Authority
  • Identify who is the author and determine the author's qualifications.
  • Is the author an expert in the field?
  • Has the author published in this field before?
  • Is the author a member of professional/academic societies in the field?
  • For Web resources identify the site's sponsor (university, company, organization or individual).
  • Check the domain extension to determine sponsorship.
  • Does the website have a link to information about the author or sponsor?
  • Does the author or Webmaster provide contact information?
 
Accuracy
  • Determine if the information is reliable and error free.
  • Is there an editor or fact checker who verifies the information?
  • Is it published in a peer-reviewed/scholarly publication?
  • Are the sources of factual information listed so that they can be verified from other sources?
  • Is the material free of grammatical and spelling errors?
 

Objectivity

  • Determine the goals and aims of the author.
  • Is the material balanced or is it heavily biased in one direction or another?
  • Are the opinions of the author expressed?
  • For websites, is the information presented as a public service?
  • Is the website intended to advocate certain opinions?
  • Is there advertising on the website?
  • Is the advertising clearly differentiated from the content of the website?
  • The Web can often serve as a "virtual soapbox" for expressing opinions so be sure to determine whether the website is designed for information or advocacy.
 
Currency
  • Current information is important, particularly in the sciences.
  • Determine when the source was produced.
  • For websites, when was the site written and when was it last updated?
  • Are there many non-working links on the page?
 
Coverage
  • Make sure that the level of information is appropriate for your research.
  • Is it intended for a general or specialized audience?
  • For websites, has the page been completed or is it still under construction?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?

Google Advanced Search

Using the Google Advanced Search feature allows you to be more restrictive in the type of sites you retrieve. To find the Advanced Search feature, type the words advanced search in the search bar and select it at the top from the results list.

How does Google Advanced Search help you be more selective in your searches?

  • By limiting the domain of the sites you search.  If you are looking for sites about language or literature, it would be great to get websites from schools, colleges, or universities.
     
  • Sites created by teachers or college professors are reputable and are designated by the .edu domain.
     
  • Limit searches to .edu sites by typing .edu in the search bar labeled "Site or Domain:" located in the bottom half of the Advanced Search page.
     
  • If you are looking for statistics in language usage, type your terms in the search bars at the top of the page and limit your results to government sites by typing .gov in the Domain search bar. Government sites are reputable and are good places to find any kind of statistics.
     
  • View .org domain sites with a critical eye to ascertain that the site is not promoting biased information.

Reference & Instruction Department

Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries


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