Let’s face it: Google is an academic resource. We all use it – students, researchers, and yes, even us librarians. I unashamedly include “Google literacy” in my library instruction – teaching students how to be better Googlers, how to link to the library from Google Scholar, and how to evaluate the sources they find on Google.How good a Googler are you? Did you know that you can use Google to…
Signs of Pseudoscience
via Psychology - From Inquiry to Understanding
An imposter of science is pseudoscience: a set of claims that seem scientific but aren’t. In particular, pseudoscience lacks the safeguards against confirmation bias and belief perseverance that characterize science. We must be careful to distinguish pseudoscientific claims from metaphysical claims, which as we’ve seen, are untestable and therefore lie outside the realm of science. In principle, at least, we can test pseudoscientific claims, although the proponents of these claims often avoid subjecting them to rigorous examination.
Pseudoscientific and other questionable beliefs are widespread. A recent survey of the U.S. public shows that 41 percent of Americans believe in extrasensory perception (ESP); over 30 percent in haunted houses, ghosts, and telepathy; and 25 percent in astrology (Musella, 2005).
The fact that many Americans entertain the possibility of such beliefs isn’t by itself worrisome, because a certain amount of open-mindedness is essential for scientific thinking. Instead, what’s troubling is that many Americans appear convinced that such claims are correct even though the scientific evidence for them is either weak, as in the case of ESP, or essentially nonexistent, as in the case of astrology. Moreover, it’s troubling that many poorly supported beliefs are more popular, or at least more widespread, than well-supported beliefs. To take merely one example, there are about 20 times as many astrologers as astronomers in the United States (Gilovich, 1991).
I’ve been reading and listening to the discussions about Transliteracy, and last week went to a one-day conference on the topic. And I’ve come to a conclusion. “Transliteracy” is what people who’ve been doing Bibliographic Instruction and calling it Information Literacy have started calling Information Literacy now that they’re finally on board with Information Literacy’s goals.
Generalization? Admittedly. But try as I might, I can’t see how aiming for transferable skills is any different from what we’ve been doing for years.
There’s some good discussion in the comments to this post.
Libraries are obsolete because they act as institutions of remediation. Libraries were either created to fill some deficit in existing institutions, or over the years have adopted the role of remedying some deficit in the community. While this deficit model of libraries made sense at one point, today many of these deficiencies either no longer exist, or libraries now divert precious resources we should use to solve the underlying problem and/or institutions.
What scared me (and still does) is that the predominant message libraries use to justify their budgets (and continued existence) is as a sort of societal band-aid ministering only to what ails our communities. As with any argument about libraries in the abstract, the argument lacks nuance and parts are easy to refute, but I ask you to look to the core of the argument. This deficit model thinking has big implications for library advocacy, and even the evolution of the institution.
…Sleep eluded me that evening as I realized how desperately we, as librarians, are needed in the 21st Century to help the public, our patrons, wade through a sea of misinformation. Each day we aide our patrons as they seek to rebuild their lives and their careers after an economic meltdown that never seems to end, yet in the midst of an economic crisis that has enveloped a culture overloaded with information, we are under attack, forced to prove our relevance in a digital age where the bottom line trumps common sense.
Beside the divide in Internet use and in the context of technological infrastructure, there are other types of digital inequalities that move beyond internet access such as information literacy. Information literacy involves, for example, online search, digital, media and networked literacy or technical and cognitive, critical literacy skills in order to navigate online.
One function of the library that has not substantially changed is that of a teacher of information literacy — a skill that recent studies have suggested is sorely lacking among students doing research. In 2004, about a third of academic libraries reported that their institutions had a strategic plan that included improving information literacy among students. A fifth reported that their institutions had created a special committee to implement such a strategy.
In 2010, those numbers remained unchanged.Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/12/14/education-department-releases-new-data-academic-libraries#ixzz1gWbAPhB2 Inside Higher Ed
Great, great post, and I love the last two paragraphs enough that I’m quoting them in full (yes, they’re kind of long):
Ultimately, I feel that the debate about ebook piracy has been stymied by the same sort of fearmongering that usually characterises debates about welfare cheats. Yes, some people will always abuse the system, and it’s only right that we have mechanisms in place to deal with them. But simplifying the whole issue as one of lazy, selfish thieves taking advantage of the charity and resources of better people is always going to be deeply problematic, because of the extent to which it hinges on notions of deservedness. By which I mean: books are technically a luxury item, non-essential to daily living while simultaneously constituting an irrevocable, significant and active portion of our popular culture; but literacy is essential, and books are a big part of that. This is why so many government programs are obsessed with making sure children, and particularly disadvantaged children, have access to books – because of all the positive links between fostering a love of reading early on and later educational success. And yet, when it comes to the legitimate reasons why many people pirate ebooks, or rely heavily on libraries, or only buy second-hand – that is to say, because of reasons of disability, disadvantage, poverty and accessibility - we have a tendency to assume the worst of them, as we so often do of people (the same people?) who live on welfare: that they should be grateful for what they have, and that they are stealing from us by aspiring to possession of things whose full cost they haven’t personally paid, and therefore don’t deserve.
It’s true of every necessity – food, shelter, medicine, education, childcare – that there will always some people who can’t afford them. The solution in these instances is not to throw up our hands and say that if everything were free, the system would break, and that such people must therefore fend for themselves; rather, it’s to expect that those who can pay, do – through taxation, through donation, through the support of relevant economies – so that those who genuinely can’t don’t have to. And this might seem like a radical, even socialist notion (egads! hide!), but I genuinely do believe that books are an educational, a social, a cultural necessity, and that if the primary upshot of ebook piracy is to get more people reading – by providing books to people who can’t afford or access them otherwise; by introducing new authors to people who would otherwise restrict their reading out of uncertainty; by granting greater access to the books we already own but can’t buy in legal digital form because of region restrictions – then, as with the example of welfare, I’m quite willing to risk that the 10% of cheating, thieving assholes go unpunished in order that the other 90% actually get to read.
Edward Mcclelland has his knickers in a twist.
I’m going to join some of the commenters on this article and hope that this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek… because otherwise, I have no words for how speechless this makes me.
Our friends at Random House Children’s Books have generously agreed to donate one brand-new book for each new follower we gain on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter this week. Those books will go to thousands of schools and programs serving kids from low-income families across the country.
To learn more about First Book, please visit: www.firstbook.org