ACRL

Association of College & Research Libraries

In the News

The more I read about the Internet the more convinced I am that librarians have an important educational role to play in its use.

While scanning the November 1, 1995, issue of the Chicago Tribune my eye caught photos of Senator Bob Dole and President Bill Clinton in images as they appear on the Internet. At first glance I thought it just another article about the use of the Net by politicians, but this article had a twist. It was about the use of the Internet for political pranks. I had missed the fact that the picture of Dole was headlined with the Dole fruit company logo and the subheading was “Bob Dole for President: The Ripe Man for the Job.” A closer reading of the article showed that these Web sites have quite authentic-sounding addresses: www.dole96.org and www.clinton96.org. Since names for sites are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, some political pranksters were able to get these addresses.

So why mention this article at all? It demonstrates just how important it is for librarians to teach critical evaluation skills. It’s not enough to teach people how to find information; we have to teach them to evaluate what they find. I can only imagine some ill-informed student burning the midnight oil to prepare a paper on Senator Dole and citing the “facts” gleaned from this Web site.

In this issue the Instruction Section has a draft of its proposed “Guidelines for instruction programs in academic libraries.” One of the purposes of an instruction program as stated in the “Guidelines” is to recognize “that instruction programs not only prepare learners for immediate curricular activities, but also enable them to be effective lifelong consumers of information in its many forms and contexts.”

If librarians can help develop “effective lifelong consumers of information,” then we will have prepared our learners with the resources needed to cope with the increasing flood of information—both real and satirical.

Also in this issue: be sure to read through ACRL’s Annual Report (page 791) to get a glimpse of just how much your association has accomplished with your help.

—Mary Ellen K. Davis Editor & Publisher

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