Unlike the library's collection of online databases, information retrieved using search engines (such as, GOOGLE) has not been evaluated and/or organized by librarians, or humans for that matter. Anyone can publish on the Web without passing the content through an editor. Pages might be written by an expert on the topic, a journalist, a disgruntled consumer or even a child. There are no standards to ensure accuracy. Web resources are not permanent. Some well-maintained sites are updated with very current information, but other sites may become quickly dated or disappear altogether without much if any notice.
If you are using a Web page as a possible research citation, you should especially consider the following criteria:
Authority: It is often difficult to determine who the author or sponsor of a Web page is, much less their credentials or qualifications.
Purpose: It is important to determine the goals of the Webpage. You can check to see if these are clearly stated in a mission statement or an “About Us” page. This can help you determin if the page is intended to inform, explain, or persuade.
Currency: The effectiveness of a Web page can sometime be lessened if it becomes out-of-date. If the Web page relies on information such as hyperlinks, directory, or timely information, etc. it should be updated and revised as the information changes.
Coverage: Web resources are often presented in a different context than print resources, making it difficult to determine the extent of coverage.