A long time ago, there were fairly clear lines between "print" and "web-based" sources.  Those days are long gone.  Most print newspapers, magazines and journals also have a web presence. Most of those websites replicate print content and also provide unique, web-only content. Is a blog post on a newspaper's website a blog post or is it a newspaper article?  It can be very hard to tell.

This is a relatively long introduction to say -- don't be afraid to ask for help! It may seem like these are easy questions, but they are not.  If you try the tips below and you're still not sure how to identify a source, ask your professor for help, or contact a librarian.

Here are a few things that I do when I try to identify a source type online:

Find out what you can about the publication. 

    1. Look for an About page on the website.  
    2. If the About page is not on the same page as your source, backtrack the URL to find the main page for the site.  For example, if your source is at http://www.pretendsource.com/articles/overview.html, back up and look at the page at http://www.pretendsource.com/
    3. Look at the bottom of the page for a copyright or authorship statement
    4. Find out if the company, organization, publication or individual has a Wikipedia page.

Screenshot of a wikipedia page about Portland newspaper Willamette week


Find out what you can about the organization, company or individual who publishes the website.

Follow the same steps to find out about the people or company behind the site.

Try and find the article in a library database.

  1. Take the page, post or article title and look it up in 1Search.
  2. If you find the source in 1Search, you can use the information in the database to identify the source type.