UT Libraries and the Student Association of the School of Information (SASI) co-hosted a brown bag discussion on February 17 to talk about the challenges posed by misinformation, fake news, and the abundance of information (both popular and scholarly). We had a lively discussion with more than twenty attendees from the library, the iSchool, and faculty and staff from across the university!
Participants all read the same article from The Scholarly Kitchen, the blog of The Society for Scholarly Publishing, in advance of the discussion.
More information on the discussion prompts and additional suggested reading can be found in the announcement post.
Our discussion yielded more questions than answers on this complex topic. A common theme that surfaced in small group conversations was the blurring of lines between entertainment and news as the media industry monetizes their business in new ways. Developing information literacy skills, such as source evaluation, is perhaps more critical now than ever– but whose responsibility is it to teach these skills? Most people won’t have the opportunity to attend a higher education institution where research skills like these are taught and practiced.
With so many librarians in the room, we also discussed the responsibility that is choosing what libraries collect and whose voices to privilege as authorities or “experts.” We also noted that there seems to be a backlash against the idea of expertise as elitism. What constitutes expertise, and who gets to decide on the benchmark for credibility?
We hope to discuss these questions more in future brown bag sessions. Watch this blog for announcements about the next one. We hope to see you there!