Answered By: Davy Gibbs
Last Updated: Jun 01, 2016     Views: 24671

An authoritative source is a work known to be reliable because its authority or authenticity is widely recognized by experts in the field. (Reitz, Joan. Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science: Accessed 9/26/2012)

The Library specializes in collecting these types of resources so that students and faculty have the tools they need to research effectively. Rest assured that resources accessed through the Library’s website are always authoritative and appropriate for academic work.

Using Google (and other search engines on the Web) for research is risky. Free internet resources are sometimes authoritative (especially if they are offered by government agencies or academic institutions), but usually are not. Wikipedia, for example, is not authoritative because there is no way to verify authorship and anyone can edit an entry at any time.

Comments (1)

  1. Hello,

    I know that for a term paper inclusion of authoritative reference citations are required but I'm wondering what to do when there are no discernible authoritative sources for a topic I'm researching. For example, I'm in the process of researching the relationships between insurance industry trends across categories (e.g. life insurance, health insurance, vehicle insurance, pet insurance) and I can't seem to find many sources that would stringently conform to the authoritative source criteria: reliable, credible resource, based on its author, publisher, and content.

    Case in point, I tracked down an informational page that covers the history of pet health insurance and it includes industry statistics, facts, figures, projections and other datum that would be useful for my entrepreneurial curriculum:

    The reference section of the wikipedia page for pet insurance has a broken link to an expired page for this topic too so apparently I'm not the only one struggling to find trustworthy sources on the topic:

    So the article I mentioned earlier on the history of pet insurance seems to be curated by a veterinarian and contains APA style references but it's still hosted on a website with commercial intent. In cases like this, what do you suggest?

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Tara Veino
    by Tara Veino on Jun 16, 2016.

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