Not all information on the internet is the same quality!

It can be hard to tell what you should or shouldn't trust.

One thing you can check is the currency, or publication date, of a source. You wouldn't drink milk that's past its best-before date, so why trust sources that might be outdated?

A woman saying to a friend,

Sources with recent publication dates found on well maintained and up-to-date websites are more likely to be reliable sources.

How To Assess A Source For Currency

Flaticon Icon Look at:

  • publication date — when the source appeared online

  • last update — when the page or source was updated

  • revisions — when changes were made

Flaticon Icon Think about:

  • the age of the information

  • if the information is the most recent available

  • how the dates match the information you're reading — for example, Shakespeare's writings will be much older than a news article

Where You Can Find Dates On A Source

A man saying,

  • at the top of the page

  • at the bottom of the page

  • near the author's name

  • on a title page or headers/footers on a long document

Signs A Source May Not Be Current

Seth Myers smoking a pipe and wearing an old sweater. He says,

  • the source is older, especially more than 5 years old

  • other sources cited within your source are old or out-of-date

  • the dates on the source don't match the material (the date is too old or too new for what you're reading)

  • the site isn't maintained or has many broken links

Quiz

You're working on an essay about an event that happened in 1990. Your essay must answer whether perspectives have changed on the event since then. Which article is the most likely to be the best source based on currency?

Take Action

David from Schitt's Creek saying,

When deciding if you should trust an online source based on currency, ask yourself:

License:

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This Byte has been authored by

BL

Bridget Lepore

Helping others learn is my passion