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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 21, 2019

Alternative Facts, Fake News, Conflicting Perceptions, & Their Relevance to Library and Information Professionals

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From the journal Open Information Science


This article addresses contemporary and emerging issues involving perceptions of “truth,” particularly truth in social networking and other web environments. It is a work primarily tackling issues concerning perceptions of truth in the United States of America with a lesser emphasis on their impact on other developed nations. Heuristics (trial and error lessons) derived from the author’s tacit knowledge gained in the political arena communicating factual information to legislators and their staff under the American constitutional right to petition for “redress of grievances” are provided. Research dealing with the well-documented predisposition of people, both well and poorly-educated, to seek out information supporting their existing views is considered. Also reviewed are the implications of the increased availability of disinformation and misinformation from hostile, mercenary, illegal, alt-right, alt-left and other contentious online sources. The essay concludes with the examination of the feasibility of a spectrum of possible roles to be played by libraries and information centers and their personnel in support of a broader identification and provision of validated facts at a time of overabundance in often unreliable electronic information.


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Received: 2018-08-31
Accepted: 2019-06-03
Published Online: 2019-08-21

© 2019 Bill Crowley, published by De Gruyter Open

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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