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Evaluating Sources Track Recap

  • Navigating between Trust and Doubt on the Internet – Linda Miles and Haruko Yamauchi, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College

HANDOUT for Navigating between Trust and Doubt on the Internet

Write-up by Nancy Foasberg

In this participatory session, Linda and Haruko shared an exercise to help information seekers become more aware of the processes they use to evaluate information on the internet.

First, Haruko and Linda asked the participants a question: “What questions do you ask when searching for information on a subject with which you aren’t already familiar?” They noted that our attitude toward sources isn’t binary, and we would likely fall somewhere between total trust and total distrust with each source. As a group, we brainstormed some of these questions, including wanting to know more about the author, considering “about” pages of websites, and relying on sources we already know.  Linda and Haruko introduced a schema for framing and ordering the questions we ask as we are evaluating information. Although there is overlap among these categories, most of the important indicators have to do with the text, the publication, the medium, the authors, or the reader.  As a group, we sorted the questions into the different categories, and took this opportunity to discuss why they fit where they did. Finally, to further our understanding of our own habitual taxonomies, we split into pairs to look at specific information sources and decide to what extent we found them trustworthy. Many of us discovered that we wanted much more information than was available on the page in question, especially for questions about funding and more information about the authors.

An exercise like this can be used with either students or faculty and is especially useful for thinking about different kinds of sources. Overall, this was a very helpful exercise that teaches participants to be more conscious of the strategies they use to evaluate information.

  • Understanding Fake News by Teaching with the Game Factitious – Sharell L. Walker, Borough of Manhattan Community College

  • What Do You Meme it’s Not Credible? Using Memes to Counter Misleading Information
    Christina Boyle, College of Staten Island

image of The Credible Hulk saying,
The Credible Hulk

Write up by Daisy Domínguez and Stephanie Margolin

Walker discussed how the true or false game Factitious (factitiousgame.com) could be used in information literacy classes to help students become more critical of sources. When Factitious reveals whether a story is true or false, it also provides information about the source in question and the source referenced, which can help users research the answer and is one of the reasons this game can be a helpful teaching tool, especially in the context of libraries and research. Walker notes that the game may be used in a variety of ways: 1) in real time during a class, which is the most fun 2) by using screenshots of the game alongside PollEverywhere (https://www.polleverywhere.com) which would collect the students’ responses, and 3) students may be asked to play the game on their own or a tailored version of it on their own.

Boyle demonstrated how memes can be used to easily show the importance of citations and foster critical thinking skills. Boyle listed several tools like Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator), Know Your Meme (http://knowyourmeme.com), which attempts to give background information about a meme, and “The Credible Hulk.” During our discussion it became clear that memes could serve multiple purposes in library instruction. First, memes can help us teach about sources and citations. Second, having students create memes related to their research would require them to synthesize information found in a scholarly article in an alternative, non-text-heavy way. Finally, memes could be used to broach the topic of fair use and transformative use.