In this Issue:
| Library News at a Glance:
As we enter 2018, one of the things we’re thinking a lot about in Hamersly Library is the persistent problem of fake news. Helping people distinguish what is true from what is merely provocative has actually been a pressing concern for libraries for a long time, since it falls under the broader heading of Information Literacy, something our librarians work tirelessly to help integrate into the general curriculum in a variety of ways at WOU. For specific suggestions on “How to Spot Fake News,” check out our lead article this month. Even when we think we’re pretty good at spotting what’s false, a refresher couldn’t hurt.
Inside this issue, you’ll also find information about Library Publishing & Preservation Services, a new working group. That same digital world that occasionally allows fake news to proliferate also provides an opportunity for libraries to help act as facilitators in the publishing of both scholarly and creative work, and we’re excited to be moving in this direction. Expect to hear more about this in the months ahead.
How to Spot Fake News
Imagine, you’re scanning social media and this news item pops up: Critically Ill Infant Stopped at Overseas Airport by Travel Ban.
You click over and read about an Iranian infant who was on her way to the United States for life-saving heart surgery, but was stopped at the airport because of recently implemented travel restrictions. Your cursor hovers over the “Share” button…
Social media has made it easier than ever to share information with others far and wide. It has arguably played a significant role in social change movements, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to potentially have their voice heard on a large scale. This very quality has also made it very easy for misinformation to proliferate and be shared.
While the term “Fake News” is in the headlines a lot lately, most people don’t purposely create or share information that they know is false. Instead, a lot of “fake news” is created when people do not take the time to verify the accuracy of information before clicking that “Share” button. If you want to avoid being that person who shares information that isn’t quite accurate, read on.
The News Literacy Project suggests the following approach (used with permission from The News Literacy Project: http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org/):
The first thing you should always do is check to see if multiple, reputable news outlets are reporting the same information independent of each other. Go to your favorite search engine and search for information related to the news item you saw. Can you find multiple news outlets reporting the same thing? Are the news outlets you’ve found reputable? If you’ve never heard of them, go to the About Us page and see what they say about themselves. Then do a search online and see what other people are saying about them.
Finally, are the news outlets reporting information independent of each other? If you see multiple news outlets saying something like, “The Washington Post is reporting today…” that means that the information hasn’t been verified by other news outlets yet. You still only have one news outlet as your source.
You will also want to monitor your own reactions to the news item you’re seeing. Does it seem like the news item is tugging at your emotions… making you feel sad, angry, outraged, vindicated? Those reactions to news are normal, but it’s a clue that you need to take a step back and evaluate the news with a critical eye. What proof is being presented to back-up claims made in the news item? Also ask yourself: Do you believe what you’re reading because it conforms with what you already think? Challenge yourself to be as objective as you can.
Also keep an eye out for red flags, which can vary widely. Some examples include:
- Broken links, or only linking to other articles within that same publication. Remember, you want multiple, reputable, independent sources.
- Does the news item use neutral language or does it seem to have a bias? Look for language choices that convey particular attitudes or biases. Also be aware of your own biases. Just because we don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it’s biased.
- Is the language over-the-top? (“Unbelievable Action from Congress Makes Your Taxes Go Up!!!”). It may be playing on your emotions and existing beliefs, or it may be satire.
- What sources are cited in the article? Are they anonymous or named? Do they have specialized knowledge or training related to the topics being discussed, or just opinions?
With time and practice, these techniques will become second nature to you and you’ll approach information with a critical eye. You’ll see a news item, quickly check to see what other sources are saying about the topic, check your own reactions, and look for potential red flags. You’ll also become more familiar with which news outlets are more reputable than others and skim past those that have proven to be unreliable in the past. Apply these tips and you can feel confident in sharing information that is important to you with your family and friends on social media.
For more in-depth information about evaluating news sources, visit the library’s research guide, where you’ll also find links to reputable sources for news: http://research.wou.edu/news/evaluation
- Politifact.com focuses on claims made by political figures.
- Factcheck.org is a non-profit, non-partisan fact-checker focused on politics and political figures.
- Snopes.com investigates a variety of claims, from politics to urban legends.
New and Notable
Winter Term Exhibits
Painting for the Fun of It: Larry Sykes, Artist
Larry enjoys experimenting with different subject matter: cars, people, horses, or motorcycles to name a few. “I see something I think would look cool on paper, and I paint it.” Larry and his wife, Tifney, own Mungo Signs in Monmouth, Oregon where he shares his creative talents on a daily basis. (Second floor lobby.)
Disability History Exhibit: ACT (Advocating Change Together)
The Disability History Exhibit is a 22-panel collage that traces 3000 years of seldom-told history. From antiquity to the present, the exhibit brings viewers through an illustrated timeline that shows society’s attitudes and how they affect the lives of people with disabilities. Sponsored by the Office of Disability Services & the Martin Luther King Jr. Week Committee. (Third floor gallery.)
Winter Tutoring in the Library
Digital Media Center (HL 219)
Monday, Tuesday: 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. | Thursday:
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Friday: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The English Tutoring Center (HL 228)
Monday – Thursday: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The Writing Center (HL 116)
Sunday-Thursday: 7:00 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Science Learning Center (HL 124)
Monday, Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Wednesday:
11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. | Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Sunday: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The Math Center (HL 228)
Monday – Thursday: 9:30 a.m – 5:30 p.m. | Friday: 9:30 a.m – 4 p.m. | Sunday: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
ZoomText and Logitech HD Web Cam
The library recently added ZoomText 10, as well as a Logitech HD web cam outfitted with a movable arm, on a computer station in the second floor Computer Alcove. ZoomText is a fully integrated magnification and reading program tailored for low-vision users. It enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, echoes your typing and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages, and email. Ask at the Information Desk for help.
- Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet. Books one-three by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Chris Sprouse
- The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld
- The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad
- Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
- American Sociological Association Style Guide 2018
- An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Blu-ray)
Library Publishing & Preservation Services
Library Publishing and Preservation Services at Hamersly Library (LP&P) is a new working group formed to ensure that the scholarship, research, historical records, and creative activities by, about, or in some way related to Western Oregon University is accessible to current and future audiences. LP&P includes staff responsible for the Digital Media Center, Digital Commons@WOU, Omeka@WOU, Technical Services, University Archives, and Library Exhibits. Depending on the project, assistance can vary, from solely providing consultation and advice to hands-on collaboration on a project from conception to completion, including doing all the necessary tasks to ensure a project’s success. If you have a project that you think is a good fit for LP&P, your best bet is to contact us at email@example.com, or by reaching out to any of the staff members in the associated units.
Alfred P. Maurice WWII Drawings Collection
This collection, consisting of drawings and sketches completed during Mr. Maurice’s service with the Army Air Corps between 1942 and 1946, is now live on Omeka@WOU. Peruse these fascinating images online at http://omeka.wou.edu:8080/collections/show/15.
Imagine a world where elections are held on a global scale, but are also intensely local—and where people will do anything to gain or hold onto power. That’s the world of Malka Older’s debut novel, Infomocracy. Political intrigue, augmented reality devices, shadowy government plots, and a cyberpunk aesthetic add up to a novel that should be required reading in our own tumultuous times.”
—Stewart Baker, Systems / Institutional Repository Librarian
Find Infomocracy and hundreds of other popular books in Hamersly’s Recreational Collection on the first floor right next to The Press. Would you like to write a review? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Behind the Summit Curtain
Perhaps you have borrowed one of the 1692 items we’ve received from our Summit partner libraries so far this academic year. Want a wider-angle view of the Summit system?
The Summit service is the most visible program of the Orbis Cascade Alliance (or “the Alliance”), a cooperative of 39 diverse academic libraries from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Alliance libraries agree to basic policies and procedures to maximize efficient borrowing. Alma is our behind-the- scenes software that technically handles this resource sharing activity (as well as many other library needs).
At the time of this writing, Alma shows that WOU students, faculty and staff collectively have 453 books or other physical items from Summit libraries in their possession, with another 98 in Hamersly ready for pickup. The Alliance-contracted courier, ExPak, currently has 71 items en route to us. At the same time, 578 items from Hamersly’s collection are in the hands of regional patrons, and 122 in the care of the courier. In 2016, Summit handled 327,000 requests from patrons.
Interlibrary Loan is a related but separate service we participate in. The next issue of Hamersly News will spotlight it. For a brief comparison, see “What’s the difference between Summit and Interlibrary Loan?” at http://bit.ly/2E9TLmR.
About Hamersly Library News
Hamersly Library News is published by Library and Media Services at Western Oregon University.
Editor: Scott Carter, Digital Production & Publishing Specialist
All content is produced by Library and Media Services faculty and staff unless otherwise noted. The newsletter is also available from the library’s website: library.wou.edu/news
Western Oregon University
345 Monmouth Ave. N.
Monmouth, OR 97361
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