The Internet is a big place with lots of information. There are countless websites out there, and new ones are popping up every day. How can you tell which ones are trustworthy? One way includes looking at the domain, or the ending of a basic URL. Click through the different types of domains below to learn more about them.
A .com domain is for commercial organizations, usually trying to sell you something. These domains are the most common, and they’re very easy to acquire. Most .com websites would not be considered scholarly.
A .net domain is short for network, and is commonly used by institutions or corporations. It was originally meant to be reserved for companies like Internet service providers, which dealt with networks, but restrictions weren’t enforced stringently.
The .org domain is usually reserved for nonprofit organizations, though other organizations can obtain this domain. Communities, schools, and other companies can also purchase a .org domain.
The .edu domain is reserved for educational institutions, like universities. These institutions can be located in the United States, where the URL will end in .edu, or in other countries, where the URL will contain .edu elsewhere. Some universities will not include .edu in their domain name. This means you might have to work a bit harder to determine whether these websites are scholarly or not.
The .gov and .mil domains are reserved for governmental entities, such as national agencies, federal-, state-, county-, city-, and town-related governments, and Native American tribes. U.S. Military organizations will use the .mil domain. Since governmental agencies publish data on these sites, they can be considered scholarly for the most part. Remember to evaluate these sites just as stringently, though!
To evaluate a website, review the following elements:
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