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Some professors will discourage you from using sources you find or access over the Internet.
Although such restrictions may be excessive, there are reasons to be wary.
(2) Publicly accessible websites are generally safe to quote.
You may occasionally find a website reposting information that’s clearly from category 3, in which case you may wish to contact the original author before using the material.
In the context of writing in college, material from much of the Internet is less reliable than print sources because it’s hard to tell who wrote or posted it. , the essence of academic scholarship is a conversation among authors.
Some private individuals, although hosting websites as a hobby, are experts in their fields and consider accuracy on their sites to be the highest priority.
(Private communications also have a different force of authority than deliberately published material; see Scholarly vs.
Popular Sources for more information.) If in doubt about whether a given text should be considered public or private, we urge you to check with the original author before quoting it in your own work.
Even if you find the author’s name, Internet sources make it harder to tell what status that person has in his or her field.
Is the author an expert, a fan, or just a crackpot?
It’s often useful to identify your source in the body of your paper (and not just in your citation or footnote); this identification is especially important when you use material from the Internet.