Information Literacy: Tips for Identifying and Combatting Fake News

Long before the advent of "alternative facts" and "fake news," librarians have been in the business of helping people of all ages become information literate, that is, able to evaluate the reliability and authenticity of information sources.  As this phenomenon has grown in recent years, the Ridgefield Library staff has compiled tips and background information to help you in developing this critical skill. Check out the print and online resources listed below - and don't forget to ask a librarian for expert help!

Contact: Adult Services Desk 203-438-2282 x12004 referencedesk@ridgefieldlibrary.org


Magazines & Newspapers

The Ridgefield Library offers more than 250 magazines and newspapers in print format and in addition offers access to many more through our online databases. Most online publications are in full-text format. Popular magazines are also now available for download through Zinio.  See the full list  here or try out Zinio by clicking on the image below.

Electronic Resources: Newspapers

Have your Ridgefield Library card handy for log-in to these subscription resources.

Hartford Courant 1992 to present - Temporarily unavailable due to state budget cuts
Hartford Courant Historical 1764 to 1922 - Temporarily unavailable due to state budget cuts
Los Angeles Times 1985 to present
New York Times 1980 to present
New York Times Historical 1851 to 2012
Newspaper Source Plus
Search 860 full text newspapers. Also includes television and radio news transcripts.
ProQuest News and Newspapers
Search Christian Science Monitor, Harford Courant, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, along with other national newspapers.
Wall Street Journal 1984 to present
Washington Post 1992 to present


Electronic Resources: Databases

Have your Ridgefield Library card handy for log-in to these subscription resources.

MainFILE Includes access to more than 12,000 publications, and 440,00 images.

MasterFILE Premier Covers all topics and includes 1,700 magazines and reference books.

"You can find real news using library databases, but don't forget...

- While you are more likely to find reliable information using library databases, no database is 100% reliable.

- You should always use your critical analysis skills to determine a source's reliability - even library sources!"


Recommended Reading

More food for thought available at the Ridgefield Library

Anderson, C.W., Leonard Downie, and Michael Schudson. The News Media: What Everyone Needs to Know
Bartlett, Bruce. The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks
Borel, Brooke. The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking
Kovach, Bill. Elements of Journalism, 3rd edition
Kovach, Bill and Tom Rosenstiel. Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload
Levitin, Daniel J. A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age
Nichols, Tom. The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters

Reliable Fact-Checking Sites

Politifact -www.politifact.com
FactCheck.org: A Project of the Annenberg School of Policy Research - www.factcheck.org
NPR Fact-Check - www.npr.org/sections/politics-fact-check
Snopes - www.snopes.com
Washington Post Fact Checker - www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/


Tools for Verifying Information Online

Google Reverse Image Search
Google Reverse Image Search allows you to see the various places that an image appears online. It can also help you to find original versions of images that have been manipulated.

Verifying Quotes
Check for direct quotes that might be used incorrectly or out of context in an article. Select the quote, right click, and select “search Google” to check for where a quote has appeared.

More Online Resources on Fake News and Information Literacy

Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Fake News Edition from OntheMedia.org

Caulfield, M. (2017), Web Literacy for Student Fact-checkers, from https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/

Fake News: A Library Resource Round-Up. (2017, April 20), from http://www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/fake-news-library-round

How to Spot Fake News from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

Information Literacy. (n.d.). from https://sites.google.com/ridgefieldps.net/informationliteracy/home

Kessler, G. (2016, November 22). The Fact Checker’s Guide for Detecting Fake News, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/11/22/the-fact-checkers-guide-for-detecting-fake-news/?utm_term=.8a79429681ce

Library Home: Fake News: What Is Fake News? (n.d.), from http://library.colby-sawyer.edu/fakenews

Library Guides: Real News/Fake News: About Fake News. (n.d), from http://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/fake-news


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