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History Research Guide

Evaluating Website Content

One of the biggest problems that students have with using websites in their research is that they are not sure that the content that they find is accurate. Here are some basic ways to evaluate a website:

  • What does the domain name tell you? Is the site a .com, .edu, or .gov?
  • Is there clear authorship on the site? Does the author state their credentials?
  • Is there an "About" page?
  • Is there contact information or references or citations listed?

These are guidelines from credible institutions to help you evaluate a website and its content:

  1. Cornell Univeristy Library: Evaluating Websites
  2. UC Berkeley Library: Evaluating Web Pages
  3. Johns Hopkins Libraries: Evaluating Information Online

Educational Resources

History-Social Science
This California Department of Education site has current Frameworks and Instructional Materials plus other useful links.
Library of Congress National Digital Library Program Educator's Page
Primary source material galore and how to use it in the classroom, including copyright information. Two similar sites focus on California: Calisphere and Learn California.
ADL Curriculum Connections
"Free online K-12 classroom lessons on diversity, civil rights and other multicultural themes."
Anthropology on the Internet for K-12
The Smithsonian provides this site.
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
This is the place to start for government information but see also FirstGov for Kids which provides links to Federal kids' sites along with some of the best kids' sites from other organizations all grouped by subject.
“A premier source of classroom tested, Internet-based economic and personal finance lesson materials for K-12 teachers and their students” from the Council for Economic Education.
Geography Education National Implementation Project
GENIP “is a consortium of geographic associations committed to improving the status and quality of geography education in the U.S.” See also California Geographic Alliance.
Historical Voices
"The primary goals of Historical Voices are to develop both a rich set of exhibits and educational curricula that fully incorporate sound files." See also Talking History and California Legacy Project.
Teaching American History (TAH)
This grant-funded project is continuing at Arcata High and HSU. The website includes links to HSU theses as well as a lesson and resource library of links. See also Teaching American History for lesson plans developed by The Huntington Library and their related TAH grants.
Picturing U.S. History: An Interactive Resource for Teaching with Visual Evidence
Professional Cartoonists' Index - Teacher's Guide
BBC History for Kids
Best of History Web Sites Lesson Plans
New York Times Learning Network


Special Collections & Archives
Describes the contents of the HSU Library's Special Collections and includes extensive links to sources of information about the local area compiled by Joan Berman, HSU librarian.
Native American Studies
The emphasis in this webpage is the Indians of Northwestern California. Includes a collection of links compiled by Joan Berman, HSU librarian.
"California as I Saw It": First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900
Sacramento History Online