Evaluating digital information – new librarians group launches

Image credit: “Information” by Takashi .M, Flickr. CC BY.

Five librarians have united behind one goal: to articulate and showcase the vital role of librarians in evaluating digital information. Why?

“Because Google can bring you 100,000 answers but a librarian can bring you the right one” Source: New York Times

Information literacy is relevant at all stages of a person’s life, from the earliest education to the most advanced phases. Our online world affords access to more information than ever before in history, requiring new focus on how to manage, evaluate and create credible content. Far from making librarians obsolete, the digital age solidifies their role forever.

Image credit: “Twitter” by Esther Vargas, Flickr, CC BY-SA

The group came together because they were all interested in the same stories on social media. It comprises the following people:

  1. Marcus Banks (@marcusabanks) – advocate for transformation of scholarly publishing. Most recently, Head, Blaisdell Medical Library, UC Davis, CA, USA, now freelance journalist and consultant (to Annual Reviews and others).
  2. Shona Kirtley (@EQUATORNetwork) – Knowledge and Information Manager, Senior Research Information Specialist for Equator Network which works to enhance the quality and transparency of health research.
  3. Yvonne Nobis (@yvonnenobis) – Head of Science Information Services at Cambridge University, overseeing the Central Science Library and the Betty and Gordon Moore Library.
  4. Ana Patricia Ayala (@uoftlibraries) – Instruction and Faculty Liaison Librarian at Gerstein Science Information Centre at the University of Toronto Libraries.
  5. Lindsey Sikora (@uOttawaBiblio) – Acting Head Geographic, Statistical, and Government Info Centre/Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Ottawa,@uOttawaBiblio.

Like all savvy teams, they have a tagline which is “Better Information. Better Decisions” and their first three deliverables are in support of it:

  • An article on trust and authority in academic literature which discusses the different types of research information, how they are created and the part this plays in establishing their importance. Summer 2017.
  • An Early Career Researcher survey on Systematic literature review open to those from all disciplines (not just biomedical fields). Full results will be shared. Fall 2017.
  • A field guide to Systematic literature review with a Webinar to walk researchers through the key steps. Fall 2017.

While they are working on the first item on this list, they’ve also curated a list of existing (mainly open) resources in one spot because they noticed that many excellent information sources on this topic are scattered about the internet.

And, like any group that’s ever tried to make a difference, they need some support which is supplied by nonprofit publisher Annual Reviews (@AnnualReviews).

Finally, since there’s strength in numbers, if any other librarians wish to join the gang and get involved then please contact the project lead, Marcus Banks. You can find the project website here and are welcome to leave your feedback as a comment or simply tweet @marcusabanks.