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LLR Blog: Morning Sessions

9.45am-10.15am The Good News About Fake News: It’s a Far Bigger Problem than You Thought!

Adam BlackwellProduct Manager Lead, ProQuest, Ann Arbor, Michigan

BIO: Adam has worked at ProQuest for 14 years, during which time he wrote the content for and oversaw the development of ProQuest’s award-winning information literacy product (Research Companion) and researched the origin and persistence of the problem of “fake news.”

Before ProQuest, Adam taught composition, literature, and creative writing at the University of Utah, where he earned his PhD in English. He also has a BA in social anthropology from Caius College, Cambridge, where, for one year, he lived in the same house as Stephen Hawking.

He now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and three children. He has also lived in Switzerland, France, Russia, and Turkmenistan.

ABSTRACT: Fake news appeared to become “a thing” only after Donald Trump unexpectedly won the U.S. presidency. However, as educators all over the world know, the problems we face assessing the credibility of news and other kinds of information aren’t new.

Drawing on four years of previously unpublished assessment data, research into the critical role our emotions play in decision-making, some colourful (!) anecdotes from the 2016 presidential election, and a bizarre case of academic fraud, we’ll see how the explosion of digital sources combined with deeply rooted information literacy problems to create the thing we call “fake news.”

We’ll also see how the fake news problem is far more serious than is generally recognized—and why, counterintuitively, that’s good news!

10.15am-10.35am Critical Approaches to Sourcing Information on the Web and Fake News

Carol HollierSenior Librarian, Teaching and Learning Support Team, University of Nottingham

BIO: Carol is currently a teaching librarian at the University of Nottingham.  As a former journalism subject librarian at the University of Lincoln, she is fascinated by the slippery world of fake news, and has been bringing the issue to the attention of students in real time since Trump’s election.

ABSTRACT: At the University of Nottingham, the Teaching and Learning Support Team have been addressing Fake News in a session we teach to undergraduates across our institution called "Critical Approaches to Sourcing Information on the Web."    We started addressing Fake News in this session in the autumn of 2016, when the term started cropping up in the news with the US election upset, but revamped the session for 2017/18 to integrate Fake News into the session's overall narrative.   We thus place Fake News within a larger online landscape where incredibly unreliable information circulates side by side with high quality information, both of a general and scholarly nature.  We look at some of the mechanisms built into both social media and search engines that can facilitate the wide circulation of fake information.  Ultimately we encourage students to adopt critical habits of mind and introduce them to research skills they can use to begin to assess the validity of all sorts of information that they are finding online.    

10.50am-11.10am New research needs to be better reported and librarians can help with that

Andy TattersallInformation Specialist, ScHARR, University of Sheffield

BIO: Andy Tattersall is an Information Specialist at The University of Sheffield and writes, teaches and gives talks about digital academia, technology, scholarly communications, open research, web and information science, altmetrics and social media. Andy received a Teaching Senate Award from The University of Sheffield’ for his pioneering work on MOOCs in 2013 and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Andy was named in Jisc’s Top 10 Social Media Superstars for 2017. He is Chair for The Library and Information Association - Multi Media and Information Technology Committee and edited a book on Altmetrics for Facet Publishing.

ABSTRACT: Scientific research is increasingly being given coverage and attention in the media. The problem is that the media often fail to acknowledge who actually carried out the research and link to a publicly available version of that work or institute. This can lead to misreporting (sometimes intentional) and biased news coverage. Whilst academics, collaborators and institutions do not get the credit they deserve. As the REF and impact agenda become increasingly more important, so does the accurate reporting and collection of such impact, through such as altmetrics and media monitoring. Without citing and linking back to the work it becomes harder to track as a story takes on a life of its own through social media and reposts. Linking to the research makes it harder to misreport or cherry pick facts and stats as interested parties are able to check the facts for themselves. At a time when we have been told ‘people have had enough of experts’ and world leaders denouncing scientific fact, proper and accurate reporting of research has never mattered more. There are a few important things librarians can do to support the better reporting of research through encouraging linking to the open access versions and exploring how research is received through altmetrics. This talk will explore the issue and what can be done to tackle it.

11.15am-11.30am Developing Fake News Ninjas

Lorna SmithAssistant Liaison Librarian, Humanities, Newcastle University

BIO: For over 15 years I have worked in libraries in London, Glasgow, New Zealand and now Newcastle.  I have a particular interest in the use of social media in libraries, teaching, online/distance learning and fake news!

ABSTRACT: It wasn’t until 2017 that the Liaison team at Newcastle University started to tackle ‘Fake News’. We started with a Fake News themed Subject Guide and LibGuide, before expanding our offering to include a taught library module.  This presentation discusses our efforts to-date, and highlights how we as information professionals are seeking to equip students with the skills needed to critically evaluate sources quickly and effectively… and in doing so become Fake News Ninjas!

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