ARTH 421:/521 History of Prints II (Anderson-Riedel), Spring 2021

Purpose

The following are a series of questions to ask yourself whenever you encounter a source, whether online, through social media, recommended by a friend, or in a library database.

  • What is my purpose in looking for this information?
  • What is the purpose of this source?
  • How did I find this source?
  • How was this source created, recommended, disseminated?
  • How did I come to know about this source's existence?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Do I know what this thing is (can I summarize it and its intentions easily)?

Authority

Assessing authority can be tricky, but we often do it pretty hastily and without thinking. The following questions are designed to help you slow down and reflect on the authorship and authority of the sources you encounter.

  • Who is the author?
  • Is the source easy to investigate? How transparent is its claims, links, sources?
  • What are the creator's education, credentials, occupation, affiliations, other publications? How are these qualifications relevant to the information presented?
  • Is the resource peer reviewed or edited? If so, by whom?
  • Does the creator know what they're talking about?
  • Is the site stable? Has it been there for a while and does it look like it's going to stay?

Scope

Finally, we often assess the scope, currency, and coverage of sources without thinking, but they can tell us a lot about a source, and whether they are appropriate to our research.

  • Is the topic covered comprehensively or selectively?
  • Is coverage regional, national, or international?
  • Is coverage recent or historical?
  • Is coverage up-to-date?

Image Forensics Tools

Whether an image has been altered, and where it has traveled on the web

Recognizing photomontage or modified photos

Tracing Memes

Memes are images, videos, text, usually ironic or satirical, that becomes viral.  These two tools help you track the creation and diffusion of the most well known viral memes. 

Analyzing Video

Getting Started Fact-checking

  • Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research. Google the author or the website to see what else you can find. 
  • Go upstream to the source: Go “upstream” to the source of the claim. Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information.
  • Read laterally: Read laterally. Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network.
  • Circle back: If you get lost, hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions.

Fact-checking websites