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The Role of Information Scholars and Professionals in Responding to Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda

In an era where fake news, misinformation, and propaganda are circulated rapidly via social media and destabilize traditional expertise and authority, information scholars and professionals are called upon to respond. We must engage in the public conversation about misinformation and its effects, and support those working to counteract it. Moreover, we need to educate future information professionals who can engage in these conversations and who can help others develop digital literacy skills. Perhaps now more than ever, digital literacy matters, not just as a skill set to enable citizens to analyze and evaluate the information they encounter; it is critical to many important social phenomena, including positive health outcomes (of particular importance when so much health information is now obtained online), workforce development, and participative governance. Increasingly, governments are delivering information and services only online, which requires citizens to be digitally literate in order to access that information.

Digital literacy is also recognized as an essential competency for job performance, since information gathering, manipulation, and application are key work tasks. In light of the relevance and urgency of digital literacy, this webinar will explore ways we can educate information professionals to empower citizens to become discerning information consumers, and will explore the many challenges to the digital literacy agenda.


Heidi Julien is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Library & Information Studies at the University at Buffalo. She is the former director at the School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alabama. She has taught at the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University in Canada, and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research and teaching interests focus on digital literacy and information behavior. She has served as editor of the Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, and on the editorial board of Library & Information Science Research; currently she serves on the editorial board for Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Dr. Julien is active in the Association for Information Science & Technology where she has served as chair of SIG USE, and she is President-Elect of the Association for Library & Information Science Education.