Today’s Follow Friday is about In the Library With the Lead Pipe, a great blog I just found written by a team of librarians working in various types of libraries across the United States. The blog’s goal is “to explore new ideas and start conversations; to document our concerns and argue for solutions.”
One recent post in particular – “Snooki, Whale Sperm, and Google: The Unfortunate Extinction Of Librarians When They Are Needed Most” – had some interesting thoughts on information, disinformation and misinformation that I believe are of great help to genealogy researchers.
One of the earliest things that I learned in my first class in library school over ten years ago was the true definitions of three words: information, misinformation and disinformation. At the time the words seemed similar, but my wise professor spent a lot of time dissecting each one and discussing the difference between the terms. I learned in that class something that all librarians know, that misinformation is inaccurate information delivered with the absence of malice and that the person or service delivering the inaccurate facts is not intentionally trying to mislead or misinform. Of course as librarians we know that disinformation is the most sinister of the three terms, yet do our patrons know to be wary of false information that is published to purposely and deliberately misinform and mislead?
The poster’s point is mostly about medical information on the Internet, but immediately thought about the family trees that have been uploaded over the years and the caveat emptor that should accompany each one.