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In an April 2018 webinar, the Freedom to Read Foundation asked the question: Do information consumers have the right to be misinformed? Fake news is nuanced, prolific…
In an April 2018 webinar, the Freedom to Read Foundation asked the question: Do information consumers have the right to be misinformed? Fake news is nuanced, prolific, sometimes malicious, often automated, and has the added complications of emotion, privacy, and ethics. And unfortunately, fake news and its foundational components of misinformation and disinformation (mis/dis), aren’t quickly fixed by learning a few information literacy strategies or media literacy concepts. People are inclined to believe what they want to believe despite training, awareness of critical thinking, and acknowledgement of widely held “objective facts.” Are they less intelligent or information poor because they choose to exist in their own information worlds and privilege their own confirmation biases?
Individuals have the right to seek, avoid, and use information for themselves as they see fit, regardless of whether or not others deem their information deficient, insufficient, or even false. However, this is a very black and white perspective on a much more complex and nuanced moral issue. Even if it is to their detriment, people ultimately do have the right to be misinformed, choosing the information they will and won’t accept. But information professionals should still be compelled to instruct patrons on the importance of seeking, finding, and using quality information and sources.
This chapter examines the impact of information digitization on the rise of misinformation, and the broader implications that this has for democracy. It is based on the…
This chapter examines the impact of information digitization on the rise of misinformation, and the broader implications that this has for democracy. It is based on the Researching Students Information Choices (RSIC) project, which looks at how students evaluate scientific information on the internet.1 Part of this study looked at container collapse.
In previous decades, information was contained in a physical book, newspaper, journal, magazine, or the like. These containers offered important contextual information about the origin and validity of the information. With information digitized, this context is lost. This can facilitate misinformation, as people might make incorrect judgments about information credibility because of the lack of context.
It is vital that citizens have the information literacy skills to initially evaluate information correctly. One possibility for misinformation being pervasive is that, once encoded, it becomes resistant to correction. This underscores the importance of teaching students to evaluate the credibility of information prior to the point of encoding.
To combat misinformation, librarians can teach students to evaluate containers and the indicators of credibility that they provide. Information containers can be evaluated prior to consuming information within a resource, while fact-checking only can happen after. Because of this, container evaluation can help prevent misinformation from being encoded. Our research demonstrates that this requires thoughtful engagement with the information resources and critical evaluation of the sources that produced them, and that students cannot accurately identify containers when they rely on heuristics like the URL and Google snippet.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the world is experiencing the greatest refugee crisis in recorded history alongside increasingly…
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the world is experiencing the greatest refugee crisis in recorded history alongside increasingly restrictive limits on asylum seekers and refugees. In 2020, the US administration established a ceiling for refugees of 18,000 people, the lowest number on record, and only 11,814 refugees were admitted to the United States. The Biden administration has expressed commitments to building a coherent asylum and refugee system and quickly reversing recent detrimental policies. But the administration has cautioned how quickly change might occur, given how “agencies and processes…have been so gutted.”1
2016 to 2020 included an overwhelming series of changes to laws and policies affecting asylum seekers, often with little documented planning or communication, wreaking severe effects on conditions for asylum seekers at the US–Mexico border. These changes had significant consequences for human rights, most notably the linchpin right of access to information. At the US–Mexico border, must the right “to seek, receive and impart information” be fulfilled in order to fulfill the right to asylum?
While information professionals are not expected to be experts in law, they are experts in understanding the link between access to information and the realization of justice and human rights. This chapter investigates the role of the information professional in the fulfillment of the right to asylum, particularly in the context of contemporary asylum seekers at the US–Mexico border, volatile information landscapes, and the legal and historical framework in the United States for seeking asylum.
This chapter discusses the unique role that public libraries can play to (re)build our Republic by centering the lived experiences and voices of marginalized communities…
This chapter discusses the unique role that public libraries can play to (re)build our Republic by centering the lived experiences and voices of marginalized communities. As robust sites for out-of-school time learning and community-based information spaces, public libraries have long played a key role in promoting the health and well-being of our nation’s democracy. Public libraries’ inclusivity efforts, though, have not always been evenly balanced, and these efforts have often been underdeveloped, poorly articulated, and undervalued by other key civic actors. Bringing together a Learning Sciences scholar of youth development and civic engagement, Library and Information Sciences scholar on free speech, and an Assistant Director of a public library in the Southeast, this chapter will offer interdisciplinary research-practice insights into both the challenges and opportunities that exist for public libraries as they grapple with the serious question of how to serve the public in the complex reality that is this third decade of the twenty-first century. In particular, this chapter explores questions like: how can public libraries balance the constraints of the status quo to hear, share, and amplify the voices of marginalized communities? And in what ways can library staff encourage opportunities that bridge librarians’ expertise and libraries’ resources with the lived realities and needs of marginalized communities? In this chapter, the authors expand upon these questions and collectively dream about the ways in which public libraries might be reimagined to more authentically and equitably serve the many faces of the contemporary American public.
This chapter explores “politic talks” (also known as political information) on the websites of academic libraries in land-grant state universities of the South in the…
This chapter explores “politic talks” (also known as political information) on the websites of academic libraries in land-grant state universities of the South in the context of a global retreat of democracy that emerged during former President Trump’s regime as the 45th President of the United States. The exploratory qualitative evaluation applies website content analysis of seven information offerings in three categories that include: (1) information sources (collections, resources), information policy and planning (assigned role, strategic representation), and connections (internal, external, news and events). Promising practices and illustrative examples of “politic talks” representation on academic library websites show how they are serving as significant providers of political information during current politically turbulent times. The discussion of these findings in relation to each state’s voting likelihood based on trends since 2000 has significant political implications in enhancing the role of academic libraries moving forward.