Since the 19th century, librarians have conducted library instruction classes to help people evaluate and better understand complex information sources. Beginning in the 1960s, librarians have expanded our role as instructors, accommodating for increased collection size, new technologies, and emphasis on self-directed learning. It is not enough to find information; information seekers need to learn how to judge, interpret, and weigh the information they find.
We are providing this tool to help our library users evaluate websites by asking oneself to following series of questions that address: currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. (The C.R.A.A.P. Test). This procedure was developed by by librarians at California State University-Chico. Below we have presented an abbreviated procedure that should be easy to recall and use.
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- Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?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?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before selecting this is one?
- 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 affiliations given?
- What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source?
- Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
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?
- Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?