Paradoxes of the web: The ethical dimensions of credibility

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay reviews the issues surrounding determinations of the credibility of online materials. The author argues, first, that the World Wide Web, and the larger Internet, comprise some very difficult and distinctive features that make conventional ways of assessing credibility adequate only within a fairly bounded frame; second, that beyond this bounded frame, standard credibility measures encounter some paradoxical and self-undermining consequences; third, that this picture is complicated further by the fact that "credibility" actually covers several very different sorts of factors, not all of them matters of judging truth and falsity per se; and therefore, fourth, that the assessment of credibility needs to address the social and normative factors that actually shape the character and quality of online information. These considerations combine to reveal an ethical dimension to many credibility assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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