Is this Information CRAP? I sure hope so.

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Do you go to the library?
Are library buildings going to turn into museums full of old books? How do you feel about libraries? When was the last time you visited one?

I used to love walking to the library as a kid. I lived in libraries. I used to walk to the nearest library as a kid. When we moved up north, I walked for 2 hours to get to the University of Toronto library on Saturdays so I could experience “walking to the library”. I even worked as a librarian as a student. I miss libraries.

Learning about the Dewey System
We had library lessons in elementary school every Thursday with Miss Evans. I loved them because it meant leaving the classroom and going off to the library. I preferred to be surrounded by books and book shelves than to be confined to a chair in the classroom. The librarian would read parts of a book and recommend books.

The best part came in grade 6 when we learned about the Dewey system. The Dewey system is a system used to organize books on library shelves according to topics. Instead of having the topics written on the book shelves, Dewey came up with a system of numbers (0-999).

I found DDS very empowering because I could locate any book I wanted in any library in town by following the Dewey Decimal System (DDS). Is there a need for such a system, today? How do we categorize and locate reading material outside the library?

DDS

Google Library
Today, my library is the Internet. I now use Google search engine to locate anything or anyone that exists online. If the person or information is there, I will find it. But is the information CRAP if it’s not housed in a library? I sure hope so. Here’s how how you ensure that it is CRAP.

Information Sharing & CRAP
C.R.A.P stands for Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose. Below are some helpful questions to help you learn whether the information you read is CRAP or not.

  1. Currency:
    • How recent is the information?
    • Does it appear elsewhere under an older date?
  2. Reliability
    • What kind of information is included in the resource?
    • Is the content mostly opinion or fact?
    • Are the two balanced?
    • Does the writer provide references or sources for data or quotations?
    • Is the information source cited or credit given to those who had similar ideas?
  3. Authority
    • Who is the author?
    • Is the writer an expert on the topic?
    • What are the writer’s credentials?
    • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
    • Is the sponsor or publisher reputable?
    • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
    • Are there advertisements where the article or blog post appears?
  4. Purpose 
    • Is the information fact or opinion?
    • Is the information biased?
    • Is the creator/author trying to sell or persuade the reader of something?

Crap Detection 101 by Howard Rheingold
Rheingold is an expert of information overload and the overuse of the internet and social media. I interviewed Howard Rheingold on WizIQ conversation in 2012. Watch the following video by Howard Rheingold on Crap Detection 101: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online

Take the C.R.A.A.P Test
Please take the C.R.A.A.P test and decide whether this blog post is C.R.A.A.P or not. As consumers of information, we must strive for the truth. What information is CRAP and what is not?

Blog Posts May Not be CRAAP
Are blog posts CRAAP? Can you use a blog for a research paper? Many universities do not allow students to cite blog posts, at the postgraduate level, allow it at the undergraduate level. However, learning how to cite is important for an academic article, it is not necessary for a blog post. Will that change in the future? Will academic writing resemble a blog post? Or maybe we can have start academic blogs?

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Dr. Nellie Deutsch has a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum, technology, and instruction. She conducts research and writes on fully online and blended learning programs, presents online and face-to-face at conferences, and organizes professional development workshops to educators worldwide. Nellie is passionate about learning and helping others reach their goals. She has a relationship-based learner-centred approach to life and learning. She consults, writes, and presents (face-to-face & fully online) on e-learning. She uses Moodle for her course management system and WizIQ education online to connect to colleagues and students in real time. Nellie is a faculty member of Atlantic University, the program coordinator at the World Association for Online Education (WAOE), on the program committee and reviewer at EdMedia, on the steering committee for computer assisted language learning interest section (CALL-IS) at TESOL International Association, manager, designer & lead facilitator of Moodle for Teachers (M4T) workshops at Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL). Nellie has been an ambassador to WizIQ since 2007. She organizes annual and tri-annual MOOCs such as Moodle MOOC in June, October, and February, Second Life MOOC in April, and Well-Being MOOC in September, online conferences such as CO09-CO14 on February, and Moodlemoot 2011-2014 in August that are sponsored by WizIQ.

2 Comments

  • Reply August 4, 2013

    Nan Zingrone

    What a great blog, Nellie! Thanks for all the new links; and I missed your interview with Rheingold, I’ll have to go and hunt it up on WizIQ.

    I know how you feel about libraries: me too. I live surrounded by books, and with a well-stocked Kindle/PDF library too. My best memory of my childhood library was being taken there somewhere around my 10th birthday and having my Mom check out Raphael Sabatini’s Captain Blood for me. Her father had done the same with her, when she will 10. I read all of Sabatini’s books, one after the other, and she and I talked about them, just as she and her Dad had talked about them when she was 10. I felt so grown up getting into that section of the library. Now it’s the joy of finding something on Google Scholar or Google Books, or plunking down in a virtual library and clicking on something on the wall that leads to a brand new internet-based source of writing/reading you’ve never heard of before. Lots of fun!

    • Reply August 5, 2013

      Dr. Nellie Deutsch

      Thank you, Nancy. As much as I miss the old fashioned brick and mortar libraries, the online ones are more efficient and effective.

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