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Information Skills: 7: Assessing

Fake news









     The steps on the poster (IFLA, 2017) can help you to work out whether you’re dealing with fake news. Click on the image for a large version of the poster.


Assess the quality of all sources and information before you decide to use or re-use them.

When doing this, it’s essential to take a critical approach!

You can find the assessment criteria that you can use below. We make a distinction between assessing websites and assessing other sources.

Assessment criteria for websites

Use the online checklist from Webdetective to assess websites. 

This checklist helps you to work out whether a website is reliable.

Please note! This tool is only suitable for assessing websites. Do not use the
Webdetective to assess documents you have found using Google, for example,
Google Books, the HBO-kennisbank, etc.

Assessment criteria for other sources

We have listed a number of criteria below for assessing all other sources (Boekhorst, Kwast & Wevers, 2004, pp. 241-247).

Checklist for assessing sources


  • Is the author a current expert? What is his/her position?
  • Can the author be contacted? And how (email, phone, address, ...)?
  • Has the author written anything else on this topic?
  • Is the author often cited by others?


  • What is the purpose of the information source (advertising, propaganda,...)?
  • Does the source contain facts or opinions?
  • Are the opinions substantiated?
  • Is the information consistent with information in other sources? Are there sources that report the same facts?
  • Is the source usable? Does the information fulfil the information need?


  • Is there an overview of the sources used?
  • Are all angles covered?
  • Does the source contain the full text? Or is it a summary or a reference?


  • How recent is the information?
  • Is the information still current, or has it become outdated?
  • Has a new understanding of the topic developed in the meantime?


  • Does the information contain references and/or a literature list?
  • Have you read the sources in the literature list to check whether the information is correct and whether you agree with the interpretation?