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World Civilization and History

General guide to assist students and faculty with World History and Civilization.

Evaluating Websites

All of the websites on this page are reliable sources of information. However, this list is not comprehensive, and you may find other sites that you want to use for your research. When deciding whether to use a website for academic research, apply the same rules you would use to judge the credibility of any information source. The following questions should help you determine if a site is appropriate for your assignments:

Does the site list an author?

You should always be able to identify an author of some type. Some sites are authored by an individual, such as a scholar or a journalist. Others may be authored by an institution, such as a government agency or news organization. If a site does not identify an author, it is probably not an appropriate source for academic research.

Is the author an authority on your subject?

Most sites that are suitable for college coursework should be authored by a scholar or journalist for a credible publication. Be very cautious when using web content written by someone without proper credentials; some may be of value, but be selective. Try to determine if the site shows evidence of serious bias. All sources of information, whether print or digital, are biased to some extent. The reliability of any information source, in large part, is determined by the nature and extent of its bias. When trying to discern the credibility of a website, ask yourself the following questions: Is the point of the website to inform, or does does it seem aimed at convincing readers of a particular viewpoint? Might the author's bias obscure the truth in a significant way? An article about climate change published on a major oil corporation's website, for example, might be too biased to be reliable.

Does the author cite sources?

Generally, it is important to understand the basis for your author's argument. Sites that are good sources for college research often include source lists. Government sites and websites belonging to news organizations are exceptions to this rule.

Is the site selective about the content that it publishes?

Remember: it is very easy to publish information on the web. Sites that are suited to college research are highly selective about what they publish. Sites that allow anyone with internet access to edit or publish content, such as Wikipedia, should be approached with caution or avoided.

Is the site's content current?

The importance of date varies across academic disciplines, so check with your professor. For disciplines such as history and the humanities, older sources are usually acceptable. For disciplines such as business, technology, the social sciences, and the hard sciences, more current sources are preferred. When in doubt, ask your professor about appropriate date ranges for sources.

The website evaluation standards outlined here are general guidelines; there is no one rule that applies to all sites in all cases. A site that is an appropriate source for one assignment might not be appropriate for another. It is up to you to use your own judgment in determining whether to use a website for academic research. If you are uncertain, check with your professor.

General

Ancient and Classical

Latin America

  • Aztec Calendar

    Explains the 260-day calendar and the 365-day secular calendar.

  • Ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations

    Maintained by University of Minnesota's Department of Anthropology.

  • Latin American Studies

    From the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Check out the "Countries and Culture" link on lower left of the page for very useful information.

  • Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America 1520-1820

    Art historians at Smith College created this site to "promote wider understanding of the visual culture of the Spanish Americas. The project covers a vast region and time period, running geographically from California to Chile, and temporally from the 16th century to the early 19th century. The centerpiece of the site is the gallery, with over 100 images arranged by time period. The 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s are the most populated sections."

  • Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States and the American Frontier

    Created by the Library of Congress in collaboration with The National Library of Spain, and The Biblioteca Columbina y Capitular of Seville, this collection of primary and secondary historical documents explore the" history of Spanish expansion into North America from Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and across most of what is now the modern-day American Southwest all the way north to Alaska."

  • Mexico Connect

    Explore interesting links to the history, myths, arts and traditions of Mexico.

Middle Ages & Medieval

Reformation

  • Reformation Europe

    Information on Protestant & Catholic reformation, including conflicts and effects on women.

  • Reformation

    Part of the BELIEVE, Religious Information website, it gives a clearly written explanation of the causes and results of the Reformation

  • BBC History: Tudors

    BBC site that has good information on the Tudors in Britain including Henry VIII and the reformation

Renaissance