Starter Kit: Verify the reliability

The ability to find information online involves three orders of competences:
  • search for information (knowing how to orientate yourself in the virtual space using the browser, using the main search engines and their features);
  • sort, classify, structure and summarize the information obtained;
  • evaluate the resources on the network according to their relevance, truthfulness, significance, possibility and opportunity of use, quality of the contents.

 

Howard Rheingold again comes to our aid, providing us with a series of suggestions to verify information and to detect disinformation and hoaxes.

There is an answer to almost any question, if you know how to search.
When doing a search, use words that may be on the page you are interested in: when asking the question, think about possible answers. Add terms like “how to …”, “criticism …” to find practical solutions or an alternative opinion.
Do not stop at a single search if you are looking for a topic and you are not simply looking for the nearest pizzeria. Consider the research as a thorough investigation. Sometimes, instead of looking to find, you are looking to find out.
See also the third, fourth and fifth page of search results. Make new requests based on the terms found in the short texts of previous searches.
Keep in mind that you must determine whether the result of your research or the material you find online in any other way is true, inaccurate or deliberately misleading.
Start skeptical and then, “thinking like a detective”, verify the information on your behalf.
Look for an author. And then do further research starting with that name. Use WHOIS and other tools to go beyond the surface of a website.
If a site makes claims, go find the sources. Try to see what others say about those sources.
Use the search term “link: http: // …” (with your URL in place of the dots) to see the links that connect to a specific page.
Learn how to detect urban legends and charlatan medical sites.
When you see important news in social media, triangulate: look for three sources that say the same thing before spreading the word.
Learn to make quick micro-decisions on whether or not to pay attention to information, open a browser tab later, bookmark it or manage it through a content curation tool.

 

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