Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘Google

google-newspaper

Newspaper by Pietro and Sylvia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Western world has exploded with news about fake news. What does it mean and who cares?

What is fake news?

It’s hard to define but fake news are headlines and stories which are completely untrustworthy and inaccurate. The content may be full of deliberately misleading facts or just plain lies. Fake news is often more emotive than real news. It can be obvious but most likely it is hard to spot fake news.

Why should we care?

The media can play a big part in shaping people’s reactions and beliefs every day. It is particularly worth paying close attention to potentially deceitful news stories because no one wants to be taken for a ride and duped. It’s good practice to apply critical thinking to everything you read whether or not it relates directly to your studies.

We’re used to news at its best being written by journalists and editors with expertise, authority and a sense of responsibility to portray world events from a balanced viewpoint. However, with the rise of social media like Facebook and Twitter the creation of news is getting further away from those trusted news sources and professional practices. Everyone should care about what they are learning and sharing with others. Everyone should know what information is shaping their opinions and those of their friends and family.

Spotting fake news

IFLA recommend applying 8 thoughts to online news stories including: consider the source, check the date, see who the author is and investigate the supporting links.

What is truth anyway?

Deciding what is true and what is made up is a life skill. Recently I came across a quotation that summed up the current attention on distinguishing fact vs fiction. It’s the idea that there is no easy way to tell if something’s true.

‘The color of truth is gray’ André Gide.

Life’s complex, there are many blurry areas.

Good newspapers available in the LRC

Don’t worry too much though! We’re here to help evaluate information and provide trustworthy news sources like: The Guardian, the i, First News, Easy News, The Voice, The Surrey Comet. 

We mostly turn to Google when in need of a piece of information.

What is the date for the next bank holiday? (factual information) Who is my MP? (current information)…What is the definition of psychology (subject specific information)?

What did people do before Google? Often they went to the library quick reference shelf. This section of a library or LRC is for consultation only. The books are often heavy tomes because they include many many lists and indices. You have dictionaries, encyclopaedias, almanacs, atlases, handbooks and more. The books on the quick reference shelves aren’t intended to be read cover-to-cover. Instead you can find specific information by looking up a key word (such as date, name or place) in the index which points to where the information is in the main pages (which then may point you to other books to be found elsewhere in the library).

One key thing to bear in mind about Googling is that companies can make a lot of money when you click on the link to their website, there are some extreme examples as to how Google results are not to be trusted. Many of the links are commercial and the information may not be that relevant or authoritative enough for study purposes. Quick reference books are more reliable sources of information than most of the results that Google conjures up. This is because, in getting published regularly, they have gone through a very careful selection and editing process by experts. However you have to keep your critical thinking hat on when looking at all information sources.

Quick reference books need a bit of getting used to again. Most people have forgotten how good a reference book can be and the skills to use them. Although a bit old, a really useful book is the ‘Guide to the use of libraries and information sources’ which offers great advice on using reference books. One illuminating idea is that: “…research begins when the first encyclopaedia the student consults fails to provide the information needed to answer a question or to carry out an assignment, and it becomes necessary to consult several sources.”

We have lots of dictionaries and encyclopaedias on specific subjects with new ones arriving every day at the moment. Don’t be put off by library terminology, the quick reference shelf could be thought of as a starting shelf much like we turn to Google to answer quick queries.

We were talking with librarians from Sixth Form colleges yesterday and Twitter came up in the conversation. They reported that pupils are no longer using Twitter or Facebook as much because their parents are on there. Also I don’t know about you but it feels like they are becoming more and more commercial. It’s hard to find hard evidence of this but it’s about time people would want to start looking for new virtual environments in which to share stories, listicles and pictures with friends. But where are they going?

Perhaps it could be Pinterest? The visual bookmarking website where you can swipe through beautiful photographs to your heart’s content.

Might it be Tumblr? A lot like Pinterest really. A collage of interesting pics and GIFs.

How about Google + … only joking it will never be Google + (‘the unsocial network’)

My bet is on Snapchat. Although it is only the 9th biggest social networking site, that might be part of the appeal. It still feels (relatively) new and undiscovered. Plus as each short video or photo is deleted after 24 hours it feels more private. You can add your own drawings to the pics which makes it fun and creative.

It all depends how you use social media. If it’s something just between you and friends or you keep up-to-date with news and take advantage of offers. Most people use it for lots of reasons. For example, you could join Hillcroft College’s Facebook group to hear what’s happening and join in the community online. You can follow the LRC on Twitter to get more specific news around the resources and goings-on in the books, digital and learning resources worlds. But these networks are only valuable once they reach a certain number of people; so that’s why we are so keen to have more followers, because it only makes it more fun for everyone.

if you’re not keen on Twitter and Facebook but are trying something new out – don’t leave us in the dark, we want to be in the know too! We don’t want to end up looking like digital dinosaurs.

Standing iPadEver felt like your overwhelmed by search results when you use Google? Then this handy article by Business Insider UK will help you sharpen up your search skills.

The article 11 Easy Tips for Finding Exactly What You Want on Google by Jillian D’Onfro gives you handy tips that enable you to be more precise in your searches and narrow down the results. It’s ideal for our Access to Humanities and Social Science students who are doing an extended research/essay project right now. The tip on using define: to get a definition of terms that you might want to use in setting your project question/hypothesis will be a good starter.

Use domains to target websites where you can find primary source material from different types of organisations such as research organisations or think tanks (.org or .org.uk), government departments (.gov or gov.uk). This can help you find information that you cannot access in your library.

Try searching with double speech marks “…”  to look for an exact phrase or term on the web for example “cultural norms”.

Narrow down the number of search results by clicking on the Search Tools link below the search box to pick material on the Internet published recently or on a particular date or between a range of dates

Google SearchTools

 


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