Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Librarians Vs Misinformation

Librarians Vs. Misinformation

With so much access to information, so many links to click and articles shared on social media, how do you evaluate the trustworthiness of what you’re reading or watching?

Technology companies such as Facebook and Google are under pressure to curb the amount of “fake news” they show to their users. But a recent blog post from the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom warns against using censorship as a tool to fight misinformation. Instead, the author encourages “educating our communities on how to evaluate information for themselves.”

An upcoming course at University of Washington is looking to do just that, by calling BS in the age of big data. Their website (warning: there is a swear word!) includes the syllabus, as well as case studies with great examples of how accurate data can be misrepresented or misunderstood.

If you have questions about the validity of your source, you can consult Holman Library’s research guide on evaluating sources (or ask your local librarian, of course). The following infographic, created by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and based on information from Factcheck.org, is also a great reminder to keep close at hand. 

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