Information Literacy: Tips for Identifying and Combating Fake News

Contact: Adult Services Desk 203-438-2282 x113 or email Reference Desk

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!

Magazines & Newspapers

The Ridgefield Library offers more than 250 magazines and newspapers in print format and 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 RBDigital. See the full list here.

Electronic Resources: Newspapers

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

Hartford Courant 1992 to present

*Temporarily reinstated during ongoing CT state budget discussions

Hartford Courant Historical 1764 to 1922

*Temporarily reinstated during ongoing CT state budget discussions

Los Angeles Times

1985 to present

New York Times

1980 to present

New York Times Historical

1851 to 2012

Newspaper Source Plus

ProQuest News and Newspapers

Search 860 full-text newspapers. Also includes television and radio news transcripts.

Search Christian Science Monitor, Harford Courant, Los Angeles TimesNew 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

Electronic Resources: Databases

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


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!”

Source: Colby Sawyer Library

Recommended Reading

More food for thought available at the Ridgefield Library:

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

More Online Resources on Fake News and Information Literacy

Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Fake News Edition from On the Media

Caulfield, M. (2017), Web Literacy for Student Fact-checkers, from Web Literacy

Fake News: A Library Resource Round-Up. (2017, April 20), from
Programming Librarian

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

Information Literacy. (n.d.). from Ridgefield Literacy Information

Kessler, G. (2016, November 22). The Fact Checker’s Guide for Detecting Fake News, from Washington Post

Library Home: Fake News: What Is Fake News? (n.d.), from Colby Sawyer Library

Library Guides: Real News/Fake News: About Fake News. (n.d.), from Berkeley Library

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 on it, and select “search Google” to check for where a quote has appeared.