Overall, I look for Web sites that are visually appealing, well organized, easy to navigate, and authoritative. Site content should be useful and usable by an academic audience, including both consumers and nursing and allied health students. In addition, I also look closely at these six criteria:
Preference is given to government sites (.gov) , educational institutions (.edu) , and professional organizations (.org). Commercial sites are avoided since they are usually committed to selling something. The sites I select disclose their advisory board members, consultants, editors, and authors, along with their credentials.
Since health information changes constantly, I look for Web sites that contain the most up-to-date information.
Content should be factual and free of opinion or bias. Information is verifiable as fact by investigating primary sources, such as the professional literature, abstracts, or links to other Web pages.
The site should clearly state whether the information is intended for the consumer or the health professional, or both. Users should be able to easily select one area over the other.
Ideally the site gets recommended by one or more of these organizations: American Library Association, Medical Library Association, Interagency Council on Information Resources in Nursing, and National Institutes of Health.
Access to Content
Content (i.e. articles, reports, books, videos, podcasts, etc.) should be readily available in total, i.e. site visitors should not need to purchase, or register to use, full content.