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Finding Reliable Sources: Criteria for Evaluating Reliability

Reliability Criteria for Websites and Blogs


The books and articles you find in the library catalog GIL-Find or in a UGA Library database have been through a review process by scholarly or professional peers/editors. This process makes them more likely to be reliable, fact-checked sources. Sources on the open internet may or may not go through any fact-checking or editorial process.  You must determine reliability yourself.

Who is the author and are they credible

  • Does the source have an author (either a person or an organization) or is it written anonymously?
  • If the author is an organization, can you find other reputable sources that treat it as a reliable entity? 
    • Does the organization provide a description of their mission and purpose?
    • Do they list staff and board members, and their relevant credentials?
  • If the author is a person, do they present verifiable credentials? (professor at a university?  researcher in a think tank? well-known practitioner?) 
    • Have they published their work in reputable journals or magazines that you can find in UGA Library databases?
    • Have other authors written about this author's work in reputable books or journals?
    • Are they affiliated with reputable organizations that have been mentioned in books or articles found in UGA Library databases?


Is the content substantial and supported by evidence?

  • Does the source go into reasonable depth?  Are there so many ads on the page that they overwhelm the content?
  • Are facts and statistics footnoted where necessary?
  • Are their footnoted sources reliable?
  • Is the site trying to sell you something? (Not necessarily bad, but be wary!)
  • If they advocate position, do they provide evidence to support it?


How current is the info

  • Does the content seem out-of-date?
  • When was the webpage last updated?
  • Are sources cited also current?
  • Are its links "live" or broken?