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Tuesday
Apr252017

Inquiry into fake news: the CILIP ILG response

Reposted from CILIP ILG

Stéphane Goldstein, Advocacy and Outreach Officer of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and Executive Director of InformAll, outlines our recent submission to the inquiry into fake news that is being conducted by the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.

In January 2017, the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport launched an inquiry into fake news. As is usual with such inquiries, the Committee invited submissions from interested parties, prior to compiling a report – which we hope will be published later in the year.

CILIP Information Literacy GroupThe CILIP Information Literacy Group, in collaboration with InformAll, submitted a response in March. Not only is this inquiry timely, but it is directly relevant to information literacy. Indeed, one of the questions posed by the Committee in its call for submissions was ‘How can we educate people in how to assess and use different sources of news?’.InformAll

In April, the Committee published our response (the list of the nearly eighty submissions made by a range of other bodies and individuals is also available here. Amongst the other respondents are Google, Facebook, the Guardian, the BBC, Research Libraries UK and the Open University).

These are the highlights of some of the key points that we raised in our submission:

  • Much of the current debate in this area is articulated around what Google, Facebook and others do to limit the spread of fake news, for instance through changes in their algorithms.  But although these often technological approaches are undoubtedly important, they fail to address the place and responsibility of users as consumers, creators and sharers of information. So the question we are posing is how people’s fundamental beliefs and commitments have an impact on the way that they relate to information and news; and what might be done to help them become more judicious in their approach to information and mis-information. This is where information literacy comes in.
  • In confronting fake news and misinformation, the search for evidence – founded on enquiry, questioning and research – is more relevant than the notion of truth. Truth is a subjective concept, and is not a helpful term when trying to address the challenge of fake news; it follows that the expression ‘post-truth’ is equally unhelpful.
  • A major part of any solution is a greater emphasis on the teaching of critical thinking, associated with information and digital literacy, in secondary schools – something that does not currently feature prominently in the curriculum. School students’ attitudes and practices towards information are often sorely lacking, but there is evidence to suggest a more discerning mindset can be fostered, given the right sort of interventions.
  • By and large, public policy in the UK does not properly address information literacy, and the recently-published UK Digital Strategy, in spite of its thinking on digital skills, conspicuously fails to touch on how to foster more critical and questioning approaches to online information.
  • Psychology can go a long way to explaining people’s propensity to believe fake news, and people’s powerful attachments to what they believe to be true can breed attitudes that are very resistant to evidence and facts. Cognitive factors are important in determining attitudes to information.

We recommend keeping an eye on the Select Committee’s webpages to monitor progress with their inquiry.

Monday
Apr102017

Fake news and the librarian's duty of care

From Infomation Today Europe 31st March 2017

Tuesday
Mar282017

DIGITAL LITERACY

The Literacy Matters! portal is for teachers, librarians and researchers to use advocacy and research purposes on the importance of literacy and reading. It has been developed to support the Literacy Matters! campaign, devised and launched by the Literacy and Reading Section, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). The campaign is part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda: Sustainable Development Goals to support the development of literacy for all peoples across all nations.

"The meaning of the term digital literacy is still being hotly debated. The articles below include a number of definitions. Some are based on research, while others come from industry. While it is important to consider authority and veracity when information is being authored by an industry or company that has a vested interest in the uptake of technology, it is also important to be aware of what this sector is promoting. For the same reason articles from popular news media have also been included".
 

Friday
Mar242017

Scotland's Digital Strategy

Scotland’s refreshed Digital Strategy was launched on 22 March by Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Constitution, Derek MacKay MSP at an event in Tontine House, Glasgow.
https://beta.gov.scot/publications/realising-scotlands-full-potential-digital-world-digital-strategy-scotland/

"The strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for Scotland as a vibrant, inclusive, open and outwards looking digital nation and describes the actions we collectively need to take to ensure that Scotland anticipates and reacts positively to the changing opportunities the digital age presents."

Information literacy per se may only be mentioned once (see extract below) but our take on the digital skills mentioned  throughout the document includes not only being able to work online using technology, but also critical thinking skills, information search skills, skills to inform decision making as well as understanding privacy, security and keeping safe online.

"Digital allows information to be transmitted faster and further than ever before, enabling us to develop new communities of interest and opening up new opportunities for education, commerce, creativity, friendship and leisure. In doing so however, it raises new challenges around security, information literacy and privacy".

Jenny Foreman

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Mar152017

ACRL white paper on global perspectives on information literacy

The Student Learning & Information Literacy (SLILC) committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has today published a white paper on global perspectives on information literacy.

The white paper contains chapters written by practitioners and researchers from around the globe on their insights and practice. View more details, and download the free white paper.

The first in a series of programming around the white paper was held recently. This forum brought together Merinda Kaye Hensley, chair of the working group who produced the white paper, and Emma Coonan, author of the foreword of the white paper. View a recording of the forum.