Fake News and Information Literacy: Creating Resources to Develop Source Evaluation Skills at the University of Oregon Libraries
In the months following the 2016 presidential election, much discussion has occurred regarding the proliferation of “fake news” and what impact it may have had on the election results. Regardless of whether there was an actual increase in fake news in the last year, it is certainly true that interest in the topic has increased dramatically. Interest appeared to peak in January, according to Google Trends (Google Trends, n.d.). Widespread concern over how to prevent the spread of this problem has lead to possible solutions cropping up often.
Though often excluded from these recommendations, libraries have the opportunity to play a natural role in combating this problem. Librarians have always understood the need for source evaluation skills in determining credibility, and indeed, many libraries across the country have created resources for others to strengthen and cultivate these skills. At the University of Oregon (UO) Libraries, the response has been no different. With clear interest across campus in having the right tools to counteract the effects of fake news, we decided that we needed to create our own research guide. As the Journalism and Communication Librarian, I was in a natural position to compile the relevant resources, which eventually led to the development of an instructional exercise. As interest and need continued, the exercise became the basis for a future workshop on evaluating news sources.