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Finding Primary Sources: Websites

A guide to finding primary source accounts of United States history at the Valley Cottage Library.

Evaluating Websites

To determining if the information you find on a website is reliable enough for your research, ask the "5 W's."


Who created the website?

Can you find the author's, or creating institution's, name on the website?


What is the purpose of the website?

Is the author trying to sell something?

Does the author have a particular bias or agenda?


Where did the information come from?

Are there links to original sources?

Are there citations?


When was the website created?

When was it last updated?


Why should I use this website?

Why should I get my information here rather than somewhere else?


Reliable, librarian-approved websites for finding primary sources.