Fake News: Pandemic Disinformation and Misinformation

United Nations Pause Campaign

These days, our society is inundated with articles, stories, and opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic—but some of these sources are more accurate than others. With false information proliferating online, it’s essential to separate fact from fiction, and libraries play a key role in teaching their communities how to evaluate news items with a critical eye.

Two of  our Benedictine Library Research Guides contain advice for spotting inaccurate information about the pandemic. Tips include consulting fact-checking organizations, visiting reputable health-focused websites, and looking closely at news sources for potential bias or hoaxes.

Information literacy: From practice to research and back again

“From practice to research and back again” is the theme of this special issue of the IFLA Journal , an international journal publishing peer reviewed articles on library and information services and the social, political and economic issues that impact access to information through libraries.  Included in this issue:


Information literacy: From practice to research and back again
Gaby Haddow and Min Chou


Knowledge visualization and mapping of information literacy, 1975–2018
Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha

Refining information literacy practice: Examining the foundations of information literacy theory
Michael Flierl and Clarence Maybee

Theory into practice: Challenges and implications for information literacy teaching
Deborah Schachter

Playful learning for information literacy development
Andrew Walsh

Curating knowledge, creating change: University Knowledge Center, Kosovo national transition
Mary M. Somerville, Anita Mirjamdotter, Edmond Harjizi, Elham Sayyad-Abdi, Michele Gibney, Christine Bruce and Ian Stoodley

Adult learning theories and autoethnography: Informing the practice of information literacy
Karen Bordonaro

Studying visual literacy: Research methods and the use of visual evidence
Krystyna K. Matusiak

“Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms”

 "Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms"














To mark the 10th anniversary of Project Information Literacy,  PIL has released a special research report about the future of information literacy among college students in today’s fast-moving information environment.

The report examines college students’ awareness of and concerns about how algorithms are shaping the news and information they receive
from internet giants, such as Google, Amazon, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.  It reveals that students are skeptical of and unnerved by tools that track their digital travels and serve them personalized content like advertisements and social media posts.

Students feel like they’ve largely been left to navigate the internet’s murky waters alone, without adequate guidance from teachers and professors,  relying largely on their peers, or their own judgement, to learn about how algorithms affect information.

The report includes ideas to support faculty in teaching algorithm literacy in their classrooms.  

Additional information and links to resources are posted in the Benedictine Library’s Information Literacy: Teaching and Learning Guide.

Happy Open Access Week!







In her article Writing on the Unpaywall , Barbara Fister provides a helpful update on the current state of open access publishing.

Also of interest to our CoLA colleagues is Humanities Commons an open access option for Humanities scholars and The Educator’s Guide to Humanities Commons that lists four Humanities Commons tools and resources that educators may find helpful.

The article Open Access and Students in Information Literacy Class: A Quest for Understanding  discusses ways to introduce undergraduate students to this new model of scholarly communication.

The Purdue OWL

Are you aware of the recent, disconcerting changes to the Purdue OWL?

Professors at Purdue University are criticizing a new partnership between the university’s Online Writing Lab and student services company Chegg.

At a recent meeting of the University Senate, faculty members questioned why Purdue’s OWL, a respected and influential resource on writing instruction, would partner with a company that has a reputation for helping students to cheat on their homework.

Ralph Kaufmann, a professor of mathematics who attended the meeting, said several professors were surprised and angered by the partnership with Chegg. Some professors said they had found answers to their old exam papers on the site and accused Chegg of copyright infringement, said Kaufmann.   Continue reading …

More thoughts on this issue.

In light of these developments, Benedictine librarians are considering removing links to the OWL in our library tutorials and Research Guides. (Link to the Benedictine Library Citation Guide.)

What are your thoughts on this?  What do you suggest?

“Check, Please!”: Modules to Help Develop Digital Literacy Skills








If you follow this blog, you may recall last November’s post where we introduced the  work of IL expert Mike Caulfield  who encouraged us to rethink our approaches to teaching Information Literacy through his famous fact-checking “moves”.

Our COLA Dean Joseph Incandela recently brought to our attention a  new article (Getting Beyond the CRAAP Test: A Conversation with Mike Caulfield)  in which Mike Caulfield talks about his wonderful new project called Check, Please!  a three hour online module on source and fact-checking that can be dropped into any course or taken as a self-study experience.  The product is freely available to instructors and highly adaptable to any course.

Experiential Learning Toolkit

Would you like some ideas on how to provide our students with effective experiential learning opportunities?  Niagara College has launched an open access Experiential Learning Toolkit  intended to support faculty, staff, and administrators in designing, implementing and evaluating quality experiential learning activities, such as field placements, co-ops, and service learning.

The online toolkit consists of 16 learning modules, tailored for either educational institutions or businesses and community organizations. The modules walk participants through the process of designing, delivering, and evaluating experiential learning programs to help ensure students receive the right skills, experiences, and supports, both from their school and from the business or organization hosting them.

Explore the Experiential Learning Toolkit here: https://www.eltoolkit.ca/

Locating Official Government Information


In this fake-news era in which we are living, it is essential that our students know how to “go to the source” to verify information.  A key source of government information is the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) which provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government including Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, and federal agencies.

A series of webcast tutorials is now  available to offer guidance in navigating GPO’s govinfo.gov.  search engine.  Among some of the newer webcasts are:

Recordings are brief—from one to 11 minutes in length.  No prerequisite knowledge is required.  More webcasts will continue to be posted and announced throughout 2019.

New Terms Added to the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms®

The American Psychological Association recently released an update to the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, adding 305 new Index Terms. The Thesaurus provides precise and consistent terminology for searching all APA research databases.

Reflecting emerging areas, technologies, and social issues as well as changing nomenclature, this updated vocabulary will provide searchers with more targeted and efficient search and discovery. Additionally, they have added new terminology in the expanding areas of psychological assessment, psychometrics, and research methods.

You can view more details on the APA web page, What’s New in the 2019 Update, including a link to the full list of new and updated Index Terms (PDF, 135KB).

For more information about using the thesaurus terms in your research, please see the APA Publishing blog.

Need a refresher on how to search the Thesaurus and use Index Terms in your search?  View the APA tutorial: