Dear Amy: My teacher recently assigned a project that requires Internet research. How do I determine if a website is reputable? —Cassandra B., Portland, Oregon
Dear Cassandra: A domain suffix is one way to quickly determine the origin of a website. The domain suffix appears at the end of the web address, or URL. If the URL ends in “.edu,” you can generally assume it is credible, because the suffix indicates the site was created by an educational institution. For example, MIT Opencourseware, ocw.mit.edu, was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Smithsonian Institution has thousands of pages on its website, which is found at si.edu.
If the web address ends in “.gov,” you are viewing a website that belongs to the federal government, such as the Library of Congress, loc.gov. These sources can be used for information about all branches of government, as well as historical research about past presidents, government leaders and current events.
When a web address ends in “.org,” this indicates that the organization that created the website is a non-profit entity. This would include familiar organizations such as PBS and the San Diego Zoo.
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