The library’s role in countering infodemics

Philip Walker

Abstract


Internet and communication technologies enable the creation of tremendous amounts of textual, graphic, and pictorial information. User-generated content published through personal web pages, blogs, and social media platforms has not only increased the amount of information available, but also expanded its reach. However, this ubiquity of information and empowerment of its creators leads to potentially controversial, futile, and inaccurate content circulating throughout the world. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, this can create false hope, fear, anxiety, harm, and confusion amongst information stakeholders. The World Health Organization recently applied the term “infodemic” to the COVID-19 pandemic. This commentary briefly discusses the current infodemic, its potential consequences, and the role of libraries—specifically health sciences, biomedical, and medical libraries—to help counter the COVID-19 infodemic. The discussion also has relevance for infodemics relating to other health and non-health affairs.

Keywords


Information Behavior; Information Resources; Libraries

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2021.1044

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