Library Selection Criteria for WWW Resources Carolyn Caywood c1995
The following are my criteria for assessing the value of a Web site to a library's users. Few sites
meet all criteria, so the benefits must be weighed against the lacks. In identifying these criteria, I
have considered Robert M. Gurn's Measuring Service on the Internet, presented at Computers
In Libraries '95, and Cool Site of the Day FAQ, available at
After awards began appearing on web sites, I looked for
which, ironically, are buried at http://www.pointcom.com/gifs/welcome/#ratings.
There is excellent advice for web site developers in the
HyperTerrorist Checklist of WWWeb
Design Errors http://www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/net/checklist.html and in Joel Snyder's "Good,
Bad, and Ugly Pages," Internet World, April, 1996, pages 26-7.
My primary source, however, has been observing what affected my success in using various WWW sites.
(Note that type of Internet access, equipment (monitor, modem, disk space), and choice of WWW browser
will all affect how a WWW site is experienced.)
- Is the site still useful with an ASCII browser like Lynx?
- Is it written in standard html, or have proprietary extensions been used?
- Does it use standard multimedia formats?
- Do parts of it take too long to load?
- Is it usually possible to reach the site, or is it overloaded?
- Is it stable, or has the URL changed?
- Is it open to everyone on the Internet, or do parts require fees?
- Are any rules for use stated up front?
- Are the individual Web pages concise, or do you have to scroll forever?
- Do essential instructions appear before links and interactive portions?
- Do all the parts work?
- Is using the site intuitive, or are parts likely to be misunderstood?
- Can you find your way around and easily locate a particular page from any other page?
- Does it look and feel friendly?
- Is it conceptually exciting? Does it do more than can be done with print?
- Can the user interact in satisfying ways?
- Are interactions secured if they involve private information?
- Is the scope clearly stated? Are its limits stated? Is the title informative?
- Are headings clear and descriptive, or do they use jargon meaningful only to the creator?
- Is it organized by the needs of the user, or does it reflect an internal hierarchy?
- Does the content fit the scope?
- Are the content and the links clearly described and suitable to the expected audience? *
- Is the content up-to-date?
- Is the content amplified over time, or is one visit all it's worth?
- Is the origin of the content documented? Is it verifiable? Is it accurate?
- Is the amount of bandwidth commensurate with the usefulness of the content, or are graphics or multimedia included simply to show off?
Last revised April, 1996.
If you think something is missing from this list, please let me know.
*For more on suitability, see Guiding Children Through Cyberspace http://duckdock.acic.com/carolyn/guide.htm