MARSBestRefCriteria

Criteria for Selection of MARS Best Reference Websites

  • All nominated websites will be free or predominantly free, no-fee sites, in accordance with the current mission of the MARS Best Websites Task Force. The Task Force may consider sites that impose fees for specific types of information if a substantial and important amount of information is still freely available.
  • Quality, depth, and usefulness of content
    • Clear statement of the content, including any intended biases
    • Appropriate for the intended audience
    • Provides appropriate links to other websites
    • Attention to detail; absence of grammatical errors, etc.
  • "Ready" Reference; usefulness for reference to answer specific questions
    • May also give a broad perspective of a particular subject
  • Availability
    • The website’s server is reliable and speedy; information is there when you need it.
  • Ease of use
    • User-friendly design; easy navigation
    • Good search engine
    • Attractive; graphic design leaves a good impression on the user
    • Easy output (printing or downloading)
  • Currency of content
    • Links are kept up to date
    • Update frequency is appropriate for the subject matter
  • Customer service
    • Contacts are responsive; email addresses are correct
  • Authority of producer
    • Authority and legality clearly stated
    • If not easily recognizable, an explanation of the history and purpose of the organization
  • Uniqueness of content
  • Uniqueness of the resource as a whole; creativity
  • Useful in a variety of reference settings
  • Efficiency (Note: efficiency is affected by the user’s method of Internet access. Dial-up access will no doubt be less efficient for all sites. Evaluators should take such differences into account)
    • Graphics load quickly or are not so intensive as to seriously degrade access.
    • Any required plug-ins are available for easy download
    • Reliable server
  • Appropriate use of the Web as a medium
    • Components are well integrated (audio, video, text, etc.)
    • Useful information is still available, even if the user does not have all the plug-ins and media components.
    • Effective use of Java, other newer technologies