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Evaluating Resources: Introduction


Navigating digital media can be difficult when you don't know what you can believe and what is "fake news." This guide is intended to provide you with the tools to make those tough calls about whether a resource is "reliable" or not.

Information Has Value

As a commodity, as a means of education, and as a means to influence. It's important to understand:

  • publishing practices and the commodification of personal information.
  • how information is accessed and your rights and responsibilities when participating in information sharing.
  • how information is leveraged by individuals and organizations to affect change and for civic, economic, social, or personal gains.

Authority Is Constructed & Contextual

Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility.

  • Information resources should be evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used.
  • Authority is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.
    • Not all questions require a scholarly, peer-reviewed article to answer.
  • Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority.

In practice

  1. Define different types of authority, such as subject expertise, societal position, or special experience.
  2. Use research tools and indicators of authority to determine the credibility of sources, understanding the elements that might reduce this credibility.
  3. Recognize that information may be perceived differently based on the format in which it is presented.

Adapted from:


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