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Martha S. Grafton Library

COMM100: Public Speaking: Step 1: Authorship

Fall 2013

Authorship

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Who is responsible for the website?
  • Who created the content on the page?
    • Look to see if they are qualified to write about the topic. Do they have advanced degrees? Are they experts about the topic?
  • Is contact information listed for the author's/ owners of the site?
    • an e-mail contact is not enough. Look for an address and phone number as well.

Scan the web page for links that say About, Abut Us, Background, Biography, etc. If you do not see these types of links, go to the web site’s homepage. You can do this by cutting back the URL to each “/” and pressing enter. Look for the name or organization responsible for the page. Try doing a search for their name in Google. If the page seems to be the work of a hobbyist, or if you can’t find the author’s credentials, think carefully before using the page as a source.


Use the URL as a guide:

  • .org= advocacy. The .org extension signifies an organization. The primary purpose of this page is to influence public opinion. Beware of biases and opinions.
  • .com= business, entertainment, news. The primary purposes of these pages are to promote or sell products and services, provide entertainment or news.
  • *.gov= informational. These are government websites. Provide factual information such as government data or research reports.
  • *.edu= informational, educational. The primary purpose of these pages is to provide information about or by educational
    institutions.
  • ~= personal. Personal pages are diverse and may be devoted to a hobby or favorite activity. The URL may have a variety of endings, but they usually include a “tilde” ~ followed by a name. Example: [http://www.marybaldwin.edu/~janesmith]. These pages may not be maintained as strictly as institutional pages. Be sure to check their date.

*- preferred URLs, because they're purpose is more consistantly informational and unbiased.


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