Assessing Online Sources

What is Information Literacy?student with ipad

Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and use information.  Students increasingly have any number of information sources available to them, and the ability to critically think about these sources is crucial to their academic success, and is only becoming more important.  A student who cites “The Onion” as a reputable news source is not going to impress his high school teachers!

How can you help students assess online sources?

Once a student finds information on her topic of research, she should ask a few questions:

  • Who wrote the information or article?  Is this person an expert on the topic?
  • Where did the information come from?  Did the author use evidence to back up her claims?
  • When was it written?  For history projects, older sources are appropriate.  But imagine using a computer science textbook from the early 2000s today!

Older students can evaluate articles and websites for potential bias – this could lead to some great discussions about different perspectives in your classrooms.

 How can Calgary Public Library help?

Our trained librarians and library staff are always available to help.   Staff are available at any of our 18 locations, or via InfoChat on our website.  Better yet – invite one of our librarians to come teach a class on information literacy, by emailing

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