The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

The way in which users are connecting with information is constantly changing, new trends, apps etc. come out every day. Users are literally bombarded with information from an endless variety of places, but how are they to know what information is to be trusted? Lorenzo (2007, p.2) discusses people moving towards building “information fluency”, this refers to being proficient in three skills; “basic information technology skills (including computer literacy), information literacy skills, and critical thinking skills”. Wittenberg (2007) also discusses the credibility of information and what students need to accomplish this, she also posits the idea that the much-loved “peer review” system of the Academic world may be coming to an end. Garfinkel’s (2008, p.84) article supports Wittenberg’s theory through his discussions on Wikipedia being the primary source for information on the Internet. A large number of researchers cite it as background reading and Garfinkel confesses that the majority of the article was created using Wikipedia as the information resource (2008, p.84).

From reading these three articles I believe the following two messages are important:

1) Find new ways: No longer does there seem to be a hard and fast “right” way to find authentic content. We need to develop alternative ways of identifying or critically analysing information, more important than identifying these alternate avenues is finding a way to provide our clients with these skills. We cannot always be there with our clients, but by providing them with “information fluency” skills (Lorenzo, 2007, p.2) we enable them to locate and analyse resources on their own.

2) What is authentic? Or what is being now accepted as being authentic? The majority of information seekers now use Google as their first source of information (Kaur & Singh, 2011, p.738). When users are googling for answers more often than not Wikipedia articles are the first or second listed results. That these articles are so high in the results means they are frequently used (Garfinkel, 2008, p.84).

As a staff member of an Academic Library it is important for me to know whether if a lecturer will accept a student using Wikipedia, particularly if they can verify the information in a second source. Recently a student came into the Library for assistance with his referencing, it turned out he was having difficulty referencing a Facebook post using Harvard Author Date as he could find no reference to Social Media referencing on the guide. It seems that in some subjects Facebook is now acceptable as a resource.

 

References

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84.

Kiran Kaur, Diljit Singh, (2011),”Customer service for academic library users on the web”, The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 Iss: 6 pp. 737 – 750

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. (March). Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Available http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101

 

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About ditchthebun

I have a new job and now work in an Academic Library full time and in 2013 graduated, I am now an official "Librarian". I have strange sometimes very outside the box ideas that I want to try at work, I just need to convince others of how awesome my ideas are. Saving the Library, one awesome plan at a time. Hmm... I need a cape - all the awesome super heroes have a cape! View all posts by ditchthebun

6 responses to “The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

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