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On fake news, gatekeepers and LIS professionals: the finger or the moon?

Matilde Fontanin (Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Roma, Italy and Biblioteca della sede di Gorizia, Universita degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 26 January 2021

Issue publication date: 21 May 2021




The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the meaning of fake news in the digital age and on the debate on disinformation in scholarly literature, in the light of the ethics of library and information profession.


Revision of a keynote address at the BOCATSSS2020 conference, this paper offers an overview of current literature comparing it with a moment in the past that was crucial for information: post-Second World War time, when Wiener (1948) founded cybernetics and C.P. Snow advocated for “The two cultures” (1959).


The complex issue demands a multi-disciplinary approach: there is not one solution, and some approaches risk limiting the freedom of expression, yet countering the phenomenon is a moral obligation for library and information science professionals.


Comparing the present digital revolution with the past, this paper opens questions on the ethical commitment of information professionals.



The author wishes to convey heartfelt thanks to Prof. Joumana Boustany for being the origin of this reflection.


Fontanin, M. (2021), "On fake news, gatekeepers and LIS professionals: the finger or the moon?", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 168-178.



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