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When listing Internet sources in your References or Works Cited, the most important thing to remember is that your goal is to make it easy for a reader to consult your sources. As you will see in the discussion of specific categories, however, some of these items may be hard to determine.(This same goal is paramount when listing print sources.) For most sites, that means you should include the URL for the page you cite in your paper (the web address that begins “http”). The ease of using electronic sources of any kind can make it harder to keep track of where the source ends and your original contribution begins—and you must always keep that distinction clear.Knowing more about the author helps readers to assess the source and also, sometimes, to find the source when the website has been moved or revised. In general, we highlight your need to respect authors’ rights, explaining how to give people credit for their ideas while distinguishing your own original contributions.
In the context of writing in college, material from much of the Internet is less reliable than print sources because it’s hard to tell who wrote or posted it. , the essence of academic scholarship is a conversation among authors.
On many websites, it’s difficult to determine the author of the material.
After finding a website that seems useful and tracking down the author’s name, you may need additional research (perhaps using Google) to learn whether the author has any claim to credibility.
But of course, countless reliable sources can be accessed on the web, and even unreliable sources have some uses in research writing. Popular Sources for more about unreliable sources.) These days, many students and scholars use Web sources extensively in research and teaching.
Some organizations, while established leaders in their fields, have very few resources available to maintain and update their websites.
Some private individuals, although hosting websites as a hobby, are experts in their fields and consider accuracy on their sites to be the highest priority.
But they take extra care to assess and report the provenance of these sources.
In this guide’s discussion of Internet sources, we draw distinctions between various kinds of websites: those sponsored by organizations, those devoted to a single topic, and private websites that are maintained by a single person—often a devoted fan of the topic under discussion.
It’s much easier to publish information on the Internet than to publish a book or periodical in print.
Since it’s easier, Web posters are not always as careful to make sure that the information is accurate.