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Dag Hammarskjöld Library Conferences

The Contribution of Libraries to the Fight Against Misinformation

Concept Note

Every time we turn our eyes to our phones we are inundated with news, articles and pieces of information, which are controlled by an algorithm that confirms our existing biases. Without a critical framework to evaluate the reliability of all this information and to assess its underlying agenda, it’s easy to reach false – if not dangerous – conclusions. Misinformation and disinformation are rampant on the web and social media, at a moment when the world faces a public health crisis.

Knowing where to turn for reliable information and data—and being able to critically assess the credibility of sources—remains one of the most important skills of the day. This is not new. Critical thinking was much needed back in the days of the radio, the early and later days of television and the press. In the last two decades, however, when the “publish or perish” imperative started shaping scientific careers, misinformation and disinformation crept into digital publishing and online dissemination of scientific output. The ease of dissemination of information online, the varying degrees of biases that are always present, can create a worrying combination, especially at a time of crisis.

Libraries have been steadily contributing to the fight against misinformation, against “interpreting” or devising facts, by offering a framework to analyze the credibility of online sources, scientific or not. Information and media literacy programmes that Libraries have been offering for decades, have, over time, transformed into online digital information literacy sessions. Where young researchers and citizens were once taught how to use the index of a book to locate information, data and facts, they are now being empowered with the knowledge to identify their own biases, analyze the source of an online scientific article or piece of news, and think twice before they post a piece on Facebook/Twitter or cite it in a paper. The mission of the Library remains unchanged: to help citizens and researchers identify and locate timely, credible and trustworthy information; the tools of the trade, however, have changed.

In this Webinar we will hear how Libraries have been working to fight against misinformation and disinformation. Attendees will be able to ask our esteemed colleagues questions about their view on the future of digital information literacy as well as listen to insights from the challenges they face and how they envision overcoming them.