In the wake of the recent election cycle, people are waking up to the idea that perhaps the news sources they were consuming were not telling the whole story. In this world of 24-hour news where the information we see in our social media feeds is curated for us based on complicated algorithms of the things we “like” and click on, it is really easy to go down a path of self-perpetuating confirmation bias, never needing to be confronted with ideas or ideologies that differ from our own.
Enter Information Literacy.
Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.
A highly relevant frame to the topic at hand here is “Authority is Constructed and Contextual,” which means
Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.
So how do you choose what information you consume? How do you determine the credibility of the sources you read? Do all the links in your news feed seem to be from the same perspective or point of view? And do they all pretty much confirm what you already believe? These are important questions to consider as we move forward as a society.
Information literacy seems more relevant and important now than ever before. College professors and librarians are collaborating to educate their students on “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources” and people are having important and sometimes inflammatory conversations about the media.
And guess what? Librarians here at Hunter College are here to help you. Information Literacy is our bailiwick. We’re not here to judge you for your ideas and opinions. We’re here to help you become more informed consumers and producers of information, regardless of ideology.
So ask us. We’re here for you.
This post was written by Sarah Laleman Ward, an Outreach Librarian at Hunter College Libraries.
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