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Art History

Use this guide to identify library and web resources for researching Prehistoric through Gothic Art

Evaluating Web Resources

How do you know if something you find on the open web is accurate? Anyone can publish information to the Internet so not all information you find on the web is reliable or even true. In fact, a lot of information is biased, controversial, or just plain wrong! Using the wrong information can be dangerous! Before you use a website for your research, consider the source. Give the CRAAP Test a try:

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

When was the information published or posted?

Has the information been revised or updated?

Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?

• Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

Who is the intended audience?

Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?

Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?

Are the author’s credentials or organizational affliations given?

What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?

Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?

• Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.

Where does the information come from?

Is the information supported by evidence?

Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?

Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?

Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?

Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?

Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

*This information was created by Meriam Library, California State University, Chico

What's a Domain?

A website's address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) can tell you a lot about the website and its content. The following table explains the difference between the most popular domains on the web. 

Domain Ownership and Purpose

For federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations within the U.S.

Registration for .gov domains is managed by the General Services Administration. 


For U.S. post-secondary institutions that are accredited by an agency on the Department of Education's list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies.

Educause is the sole registrar for names in the .edu domain


For organizations,  non-profits, companies, and clubs.

Registration for .org domains is operated by the Public Interest Registry.

Provided by virtually any domain registrar or web hosting company.

.org is an unrestricted, open domain


For U.S. Department of Defense (military) and its subsidiary or affiliated organizations. 

Managed by Defense Information Systems Agency. 


Originally intended for commercial business organizations but is now used for virtually any commercial or non-commercial website.

Provided by any domain registrar or web hosting company.

.com is an unrestricted, open domain


Originally intended for 'network' organizations (involved in network technologies) but is now considered a general purpose domain similar to .com.

Provided by any domain registrar or web hosting company.

.net is an unrestricted, open domain