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CLICS

Page 8

 

Reliability:
Credentials of 
the Author/Editor/Producer

Things to Consider:

  • Is there an author, editor, or producer given for the information you retrieved?

Often this information will be at the beginning or end of articles. In books, an author biography is usually on the back cover or flap or on one of the last pages.

Fast Forward by S. B. MacDonald and G. A. Fauriol Some information sources clearly indicate who is responsible for the work. This may be an individual author, a corporate author, or a sponsoring agency such as an association or organization.
However, some publications give no indication of authorship/responsibility. Eosdis, a publication with no author listed
  • What are the author's credentials and/or level of expertise on the topic?

author credits showing institutional affiliation and academic degree
Many sources provide information on the author's occupation, position, experience, or education.
Other sources provide very little information on the author/producer. Notice that this source does not give any information about the author's level of expertise. If there is no information about the author available, analyze the magazine for its authority on the subject. How long has the magazine been published? Is contact information provided for the editors? article which does not mention author's credentials

Determine the expertise of authors by investigating their educational background, work experience, and other writings. To find this information, you might have to look in several places.

  • Use a reference source at your library (e.g., Who's Who in America,Contemporary AuthorsContemporary Literary Criticism) or the online databaseBiography Resource Center to find reliable biographical information.
  • Use the library catalog or a periodical index to see if the author has written any other books or articles on the topic.
  • If you are using a Web source, locate information about the author by looking in the header or footer.
  • Use a search engine to find an online résumé or page about the author's credentials.
Chapter 7 — Page 8