Step D… Seven Steps To Website Evaluation For Students… Promoting Digital Citizenship…Domain Anatomy


Welcome to a this fourth in a series that is must read for any  educator wanting to facilitate web page evaluation by students.  It includes a new step in web evaluation information along with a poster for that step you can use in the classroom  Best of all, it  supports students becoming scholarly digital citizens.  First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS.  As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Quick Note  I have been getting a lot of requests asking if I will make a visit to your school, organization, or conference. Please be aware that I am available to assist you in providing professional development and presentations. I have had the opportunity to network in person across the country and invite your inquiry at my booking information page and at Please note that I do need plenty of advance notice as my schedule does fill quickly. If you have been following my e-curriculum series you will really enjoy the next post!

The Seven Steps to Web Site Evaluation – Step D

Welcome to the web site evaluation page evaluation series of posts. As I speak with educators across the nation I find there is a need for all teachers to emphasize proper web site evaluation by students. I believe that web evaluation must be a simple process that can also be applied to memory. Thus the reason for my (A-G) approach. This series is devoted to teaching these skills and I have spent hours preparing resources that you are free to use. I have divided this series using my A-G approach.  Please, if you ever have the opportunity, visit me at one of my conference presentations, check out one of my webinars, or invite me to your school district to help inform your entire faculty. It really is time to help kids understand that there are no whales in Lake Michigan, the Southwest Tree Octopus is nonexistent, study of cats and bearded men did not really happen, moon creatures failed to film the lunar landing, and Columbus was not born in Australia. Please enjoy, share, and use! 

Visit the three prior website evaluation posts:  A if for AuthorB is for BiasC is for Currency  (Just click on the letter)

D Is Domain Anatomy
Much can be determined by looking at the address of a website. Such things as sponsoring organization, type of organization and its intent, country of origin, and file names can all be gleaned from the address of a site. A good research technique involves studying and dissecting the web URL (domain anatomy) in order to determine if it fits the research being performed.
1. Know The Main Domain – The main domain (Actual Domain) usually gives away the sponsoring organization name. In the case of really a link) , the section entitled “biginfo” is considered the Main Domain. It is the letters between the first two dots in the web address. Knowing the Main Domain can be very valuable because of its possible link to an organization. The Main Domain may also give away the purpose. There is a chance that the Main Domain (Actual Domain) could be a slogan instead of organization name. Consider the case of really a link) The Main Domain“outlawgumchewing” may actually contain the agenda rather than organization name. The Main Domain could also be a person or publications name. Last, the Main Domain may be insignificant or could distract you from the real organization. It is always a good idea to look
in the web page to see if the actual sponsor relates with the Main Domain. Sometimes it may be a good idea to view only the Main Domain by including all characters up to the Top Domain (Suffix) as explained below. This may take the researcher to the main sponsor page.
2. Know The Top Level Domain – The Top Level Domain usually comes after the Main Domain and is a two or three letter code identifying the type of website. This Top Level Domain (TLD) may also contain a two letter country code identifying the country of origin. Understand that the country code may not always be part of the suffix (TLD). In the case of really a link) , it can be seen that “com/ca” is the Top Level Domain (TLD). The portion “com” identifies the type of website as being commercial/business. The “ca”portion identifies country of origin as Canada. There will not always be a country code and, in that case, country for users in the United States is probably the USA (consider host country of researcher). Knowing the Top Level Domain (TLD) that contains this site identification and country can be useful. The country of origin could have a bias on topics  (such as “Space Race” if origin is US compared to RU, or even “American Revolution” if origin is US as compared to UK). The site identification portion of Top Level Domain (TLD) is outlined below and could give hints toward a website’s purpose.

  • .com business, commercial, company (usually profit minded)
  • .edu usually a college or university
  • .k12 k12 – school usually followed by state abbr. and US
  • .org organization, club, interest group
  • gov government agency
  • .mil military interest
  • .net independent organization, non profit, non educational
  • .int international group
  • .us country code check


3. Recognize The Mapping – In most cases the rest of the address after the suffix identifies the file name and page name of the particular page as it resides on the host computer.
4. What Does It Mean? – Using the above information, does it have any determining factor as to whether the page can be a valuable part of intended research.


Download Poster Here: d1_poster_info

Enjoying the series?… Please let me know by email, response, and sign up… and please share with a  Retweet!

Thank you for joining me and if you have an idea that you feel is important please leave a comment or pass it on to me in an email. I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and to share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Discussion! – Mike (


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2 responses to “Step D… Seven Steps To Website Evaluation For Students… Promoting Digital Citizenship…Domain Anatomy

  1. Pingback: I know it’s true…I read it online | (Up)Front and Centre

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