Global Media and Information Literacy Week (24-31 October)

Library display for media and information literacy week 2022

Information literacy is an important subject for librarians and researchers. The ability to use digital tools to search for information and apply critical thinking skills to evaluate sources is absolutely necessary in our interconnected world. The theme set by UNESCO for this year’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week (October 24-31) is “Nurturing trust: a media and information literacy imperative”. Here is a short selection complementing the thematic exhibition at the entrance of the Library.


“Bullshit” is abundant, as already discussed by Harry G Frankfurt in 2005. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”, as a famous apocryphal quote by Mark Twain goes. Joel Best wrote the book on that topic, and then another, following Darrell Huff’s example. Interpretation goes a long way, and understanding statistics and their relation to facts is a part of information literacy. And yet, can we study society without data and statistics? Can we make rational decisions without evidence? How can we build a critical understanding of data and society?

Fake news are, perhaps unsurprisingly, not new. The post-truth age descends from a long history, but the rise of social media opened a new age for disinformation and conspiracy theories. Should they be regulated and how? How is truth negotiated? Google and Wikipedia have become major sources for self-education, but only the latter requires a certain level of sourcing.

State propaganda has a long history, especially related to war. The post-9/11 “War on Terror” found a significant echo in mainstream media. In other contexts, they helped justify intervention. Decades earlier, Japan already understood the interest of controlling the media to challenge Western dominance in the region. Manufacturing consent is a major activity of mainstream media, but alternatives also have issues.

Immediate reporting, blogging, social media and OPSEC enthusiasts have changed war communication in the 21st century. Alternatively, journalists focusing on constructive approaches can contribute towards the resolution of issues. Reporting on violence can encourage it – why not focus on promoting peace?

Rebuilding trust as producers of content is necessary for going forward, but “objectivity” is not a solution, as American journalists can testify. Information literacy skills are useful for navigating censored media in China, using sources with a non-Western alignment, or understanding how news is produced in conflictual environments.

Science is also affected by misinformation, especially when it requires a political decision. How climate change is reported on matters. A good literature review when starting your research also requires critical information literacy skills. Check our guide on How to search for sources, which includes sub-pages about evaluating information.

These documents and more are on display at the entrance of the Library. Feel free to borrow them!

Don’t have a DVD player? Borrow a portable DVD player from our services.

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