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Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

(Reviewed in Winter 2012)

Reviewer: Miaoling Lin

Recommendation: Highly Recommended


The Online Writing Lab was created by Dr. Muriel Harris (former director and founder of the Purdue Writing Lab) and David Taylor (former graduate student in Education Computing) in 1994.  It is the world’s first online writing lab which aims to provide writers all around the world with writing resource and instructional materials. Now, many OWL coordinators, consultants, and staff are devoted to this website. The staff of this website wrote, “The OWL has grown into a popular web-site that received over 161 million hits in 2009-2010. It currently houses more than 200 handouts.” Power Point presentations and new discipline-specific writing materials are available via continual revision and updates.


This website was created and is operated by the staff of a professional academic organization. Writers who seek help don’t need to worry about unprofessional or unauthentic materials and suggestions. Besides, it systematically offers free information on all aspects of writing, for example, writing and teaching writing, research, grammar and mechanics, style guides, professional writing, etc. It is a great complement to classroom instruction, a supplement to face-to-face tutorials, and a stand-alone reference for writers. Moreover, the OWL staff keeps redesigning and revising the site and continues generating new content management system to make it more usable. They also keep updating information and knowledge, which I think is the most important factor for a good learning resource. The last reason why this website impresses me so much is because of its clear, orderly, systematical layout which makes it delightful and comfortable to browse, and of course, there are no annoying advertisements.

Subject Headings

general writing, research and citation, teaching and tutoring, subject specific writing, job search writing, ESL