Fake News– How the Library Can Help

Deciding What’s True: the Rise of Political Fact-Checking. Staten Island Stacks – 3rd Floor (PN4784 .O24 G73 2016)

Do you need help getting a grasp on the explosion of the “fake news” phenomenon? The Library can help.

The library world has always advocated for and trained students and citizens to think critically about their information sources. We even have a long-standing phrase for it–information literacy!

But with social media playing a greater role in our lives, and with the emergence of intentionally fictional news, the stakes seem more urgent now. We really need to be able to distinguish between hoax, satire, and clickbait sources, and also still assess the value of more legitimate information. The Library has resources you can use.

We have a Research Guide that includes useful information for everyone; definitions of the different ways questionable information can be presented to us, checklists we can use to assess sources we find, information on confirmation bias and filter bubbles, fact-checking sites, and further resources for faculty or higher level students who may want to delve deeper.

The Library also runs workshops in the Fall and Spring semesters. Check back in the Fall to see when the ‘Fake News’ workshop is scheduled. We also have a brief online tutorial on the subject with a quiz. Students can email their results directly to their professor. Faculty can assign this and other online quizzes.

If you are really interested in learning how to find and evaluate information sources, we also have a 1 credit course, LIB 102 “Beyond Google: Research for College Success”. We run 5 sections at different times, some of them hybrid.

And of course, don’t forget, it’s a library; search our holdings for books and articles on the subject. A phrase search for “fake news” in OneSearch yields over 12,000 results. Look in the book catalog for “social media” and news, or fake news, or false news, etc. For instance, I just found Deciding What’s True: the Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism by Lucas Graves, published in 2016. Sounds good!​

–by Professor Maureen Garvey