Onefer' Wednesday 12/14/16

..because this one is too important for two!

Searching for the Truth

The potential effects on decision making due to fake news, misinformation and media filter bubbles, have come to light via November's presidential election. One would think that the current influx of free, easy, uncensored and targeted information sharing would lead to a greater desire for truth seeking and increased efforts regarding information evaluation. However, it seems this fails to be the case. See Post-Truth, Oxford Dictionaries 2016 Word of the Year.

How much effort one puts into evaluating information highly depends on their contextual need. For example, choosing a restaurant for last minute dinner plans based on one co-worker's recommendation, or one Yelp review certainly seems legitimate. However, choosing a town to move to, a car to buy or a president to elect, for example, without doing due diligence in regards to purposeful research and attentive information evaluation, proves problematic. The fact that according to a May 2016 Pew Research Center study, 62% of US adults get their news solely through social media, (a silo-ed and targeted information source, with forwarded information which often is never even fully read by the person who forwarded it), fuels this problem.

A recent Stanford Graduate School of Education report, Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Literacy, assessed the information evaluation skills of students from middle school through college. Evaluations from the Executive Summary follow:

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I'm sharing this timely and relevant information because our students deserve the opportunity to learn the skills and to develop the dispositions to discern the reliability, credibility and bias in the information they consume. If their academic information needs continually fall into the, "this requires little or no information evaluation efforts" category, we are doing them a disservice in the long run.

Google does not exclude unreliable information, and what comes to the top of a google search hit list is a far cry from the good stuff. That being said, it isn't an ideal place to start for the majority of our students' academic information needs. The good news is that there are valuable and effective strategies to discern and platforms to find credible and relevant information, and I would love to share them with you and your students. In order to become savvy information consumers, students need opportunities to continually develop effective practices.


Valenza, J. "Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a "post-truth" world". The Neverending Search. Nov,2016. librarian-way-a-news-literacy-toolkit-for-a-post-truth-world/

Schiano, D. "Search Strategies". Always Interested Library and Info Center.

Schiano, D. "Information Evaluation/News Literacy". Always Interested Library and Info