Debunking & Prebunking: Strategies for Librarians to Eradicate Misinformation: White Paper
Interest in combating misinformation has exploded in the past decade, and many scholars and public figures have claimed that libraries should play an important role in slowing the spread of false claims. However, much of the research around correcting misinformation or preventing its dissemination comes from other fields, such as psychology and education. Researchers in these disciplines have begun to develop debunking and “prebunking” strategies for misinformation that do not seem to have widespread adoption among, or recognition by, librarians.
Concerned about the effects of misinformation, librarians Evan Maszeros and Mandi Goodsett were inspired to explore how librarians can play a part in addressing this serious problem. Misinformation can impact health, financial, and voting decisions, with devastating consequences. Based on their extensive literature review, they saw a role for librarians to help stem the tide of misinformation spread, and they hoped the evidence-based conclusions of their investigation help librarians see practical ways to begin those efforts. Concerned about the effects of misinformation, they were inspired to explore how librarians can play a part in addressing this serious problem.
About the Authors
Mandi Goodsett (she/her) is the Performing Arts & Humanities Librarian, as well as the Open Educational Resource & Copyright Advisor, at Cleveland State University. Her research interests include critical thinking, sustainability in libraries, and open education, and she has been published in C&RL, the Journal of Academic Librarianship, and Communications in Information Literacy, among other journals.
Evan Meszaros (he/his) is a Research & Engagement Librarian at Case Western Reserve University. He formally supports the natural sciences and mathematics at CWRU, though his other interests include environmentalism and sustainability (in libraries and beyond), as well as misinformation, skepticism, and media literacy.