As we take today to remember the Holocaust – an event that encompassed countless acts of hate and cruelty – we also need to remember that these acts aren’t relegated to the past. The appearance of white supremacy propaganda on campus this past weekend is evidence that the need for intentional inclusion and work for equity and diversity are as important as ever.
Libraries, including Helmke Library, have long been advocates for inclusion, striving to provide access for all to resources and information. But countering the growing spread of misinformation and hate speech takes more than that advocacy – it takes education and action. Information literacy is a vital and powerful tool in combating misinformation and the very real damage it has caused.
Propaganda employs a number of methods to appeal to its audience and hide the identity of the author/organization and its true ideologies. But there many resources to help counter those tactics, particularly in identifying information sources and evaluating them for accuracy and credibility. This is just as relevant to a social media post as it is to a research paper. As Jill Long Thompson discussed in her recent op-ed in the Journal Gazette, advances in technology have opened many more avenues in which we receive information, increasing the need for all of us to be more able to evaluate the credibility of that information and its source, particularly with avenues like social media that often don’t require the review and transparency that traditional media sources do.
- The American Library Association website has an Evaluating Information guide with resources related to media literacy, credibility and other related topics.
- Use evaluation criteria like the CRAAP test and ask questions about the accuracy, currency, and objectivity of the source.
- Consult sites Snopes.com, PolitiFact, and FactCheck.org for quick and non-partisan fact-checking.
- Faculty can request a classroom instruction session with a librarian that covers evaluating credibility of sources and/or include online information literacy modules in their Brightspace courses.
Promoting inclusion also involves consulting the departments, institutes, and offices on campus who provide resources and other support related to diversity and equity, like the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Resource Center, and the Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs.