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Evaluate Your Sources

Timeliness (Currency)

Goal: Find an information source that is timely for your needs. 

‚ÄčWhen was the information created, published, posted, or last updated? How current does it need to be for your topic? 

Is it current enough? Ask these questions.

  • How current does the information need to be to serve your purposes?
  • What is the date of publication or copyright? Has it been revised or updated?
  • When was the information created? (When was the research conducted, or the data collected?)
  • Is the information timely for your particular topic? Does newer research exist on your topic? 


Statistics: Don't expect up-to-the-minute statistics for everything! It takes time to compile and publish them. Keep in mind that sometimes the information is published long after it is collected.

Medical and Health: It is especially important that medical and health information be up to date. You could use an older source for history and background information, but make sure you check more recent sources for new developments.  Generally, older than 5 years is considered out of date for clinical use. Reputable health information websites will often show the date when the information was last medically reviewed. 

History: In some cases you will want to use primary sources that were generated during or shortly after an historical event. Newer sources may have uncovered new information about history, but often they draw on earlier resources. 

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000