So, what does “authority” have to do with anything? Well, what word do you see in the word “authority”? “Author”, right? So, “authority” has to do with the author(s) of the site.

You want to make sure that the person (or organization) that is responsible for creating the website has experience with, or is an expert in the subject matter. Sometimes you can tell by the author’s credentials; for example, degrees, diplomas, certificates can show a certain level of qualification.

Can you contact the author? Is the author an expert?

Questions to ask:

  • Is the author of the site clearly identified?
  • Is the author well-respected or an expert?
  • Is there contact information for the author?
    (For example, look for a “Contact Us” section for an email address; this is a good way to find out more information if some of the other questions aren’t easily answered.)

Sometimes you can tell by the organization publishing or sponsoring the website. For example, the Government of Canada would be a good example of an authoritative publisher/sponsor. So, whether it’s a sponsor or publisher, you can ask similar questions to those listed above for authors.

An authoritative author: Statistics Canada

Let’s move on; next on the list is “Objectivity“.