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Understanding Financial Conflict of Interest: Implications for Information Literacy Instruction
Author(s):
Perry, Heather B.
Source:
Communications in Information Literacy, v12 n2 Article 10 p215-225 2018. 12 pp.
Availability:
Full Text from ERIC Available online: https://eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ1205077
Communications in Information Literacy. e-mail: [email protected]; Web site: https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/comminfolit/
Peer Reviewed:
Y
ISSN:
1933-5954
Descriptors:
Conflict of Interest, Information Literacy, Library Instruction, Power Structure, Financial Support, Deception
Abstract:
Libraries have long existed to assist users in accessing accurate information for their needs. Industry has long been motivated to spread disinformation to promote their industry’s message to the public. Although corporate disinformation techniques perfected by the tobacco industry in the 1950’s were exposed, instead of disappearing they have only grown more influential with the rise of the internet. Many industries from petroleum to pharmaceuticals use scientific research to promote their corporate message and have contributed to harming the public. Users need information literacy (IL) to provide them with the skills they need to critically evaluate information and reject the techniques of disinformation. This essay will argue that librarians should provide instruction about conflict of interest (COI) while instructing users in evaluation, and that the “Framework for Information Literacy” (2016) can provide a structure for this instruction. Libraries can help their patrons exercise critical skepticism when evaluating information to avoid becoming disinformed. It concludes with a call for librarians to be more cognizant of issues of money and power when evaluating information to assist users with making the choices that best meet their information needs.