Reply To: Zara West Submissions

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Victoria Elliot

Hi Zara,

I didn’t make any comments in the document, but I did have a few thoughts. Some of this may be because of my profession (librarian), but the information in the first chapter struck me as being super basic, but perhaps that is your audience.

The ant example didn’t really work for me. I’ve never heard anyone discuss the number of legs on an ant, and so it seemed a really strange choice. I think it might be better if you could think of a more accessible example of a common knowledge fact that is actually wrong (Great Wall of China being visible from space?).

Now for my annoying librarian comments. You may know this, but the CRAAP Test was developed by a pair of librarians at a university in California (Chico State?). Maybe that’s included in your bibliography, but I felt they should be given credit within the body of your text. I don’t know their names, but I’m sure if you look it up you can find it.

I used to teach the CRAAP test to my students, but have since abandoned it for a more simple (and easier to remember): Who, What, When, Where and Why. I think it covers all the same stuff and conceptually, it’s easier to understand.

Current best practice for teaching information literacy (and I know you are writing to authors, not students), is lateral reading. This is the idea that before you even read the information from a source or try to assess the credibility of the source using factors from within the source itself, you leave the site to see what other resources have to say about it. You can find lots of info about lateral reading online, but I believe the Stanford History Education Group is the main proponent of this method.

Finally, I wanted to mention that I’ve stopped teaching students to use top level domain to gauge credibility. Anyone can buy a .com, .net, or .org domain. .edu is problematic (in my opinion) because affiliation with an educational institution does not guarantee accuracy. Finally, there’s .gov. I used to teach government websites were credible, but after the last four years, I feel much less certain.



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