11_Internet_Reviews

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts is associate university librarian for public services and collection development at Willamette University, email: jroberts@willamette.edu, and Carol A. Drost is associate university librarian for technical services at Willamette University, email: cdrost@willamette.edu

Government of Canada Indigenous Peoples. Access: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/indigenous-peoples.html.

The Indigenous Peoples website, part of the Government of Canada’s web presence, acts as a portal to a wide range of information impacting Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The site provides access to resources and information on government action or support for these groups. Information is offered in both of Canada’s official languages, English and French. None of the information appears to be offered in the native languages of the Indigenous communities.

While the target audience is Indigenous community members and provides essential information on government services such as benefits, education, and housing, the site also provides general information for those wanting to learn more about these communities and issues impacting these groups.

The site is organized into broad subjects, including “Coronavirus and Indigenous communities,” “Indian status,” “Funding,” and “About Indigenous peoples and communities.” When appropriate, the site links to relevant information provided by other Canadian government departments. Official documents are scattered throughout the site that are associated with the topic of interest.

To provide quick access, the site occasionally includes Most Requested, What’s New, and Features sections. One can easily determine when a page was updated, report a problem found on a page, or share the site with others.

While the site is focused on providing information and services for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, researchers of all levels, from school-aged to professional, may find the site useful. Those seeking to understand Indigenous Peoples in Canada will find useful information in the “About…” section, while more advanced researchers may find information on a wide range of research topics, including “Treaties, claims, and agreements.” The “Justice and policing” section of the site provides insight into the Canadian government’s work, including the “National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.” The site also includes resources on reconciliation steps the government is taking, a topic of particular importance to many current researchers.—Krista Godfrey, University of Waterloo, k3godfrey@uwaterloo.ca

The Media Manipulation Casebook. Access: https://mediamanipulation.org/.

Documenting and exposing disinformation campaigns is essential to combating the harmful spread of disinformation. The Media Manipulation Casebook offers an expanding collection of fact-checked and footnoted case studies detailing disinformation events and demonstrates how they disseminate throughout the digital fora.

Created by the Technology and Social Change Project, a dedicated research team from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, “the Casebook is a new resource for building the field of Critical Internet Studies by equipping researchers with case studies, theory, methods, and frameworks to analyze the interplay of media ecosystems, technology, politics, and society.”

The case studies contain in-depth and evidence-based chronological descriptions of media events, following the Media Manipulation Life Cycle model and its five distinct stages. Case studies are meticulously coded with hyperlinked variables or tags that describe the event and tactics used. These links organize the case studies so a user can filter a specific variable to view a definition, references, and a list of related case studies. The easy-to-navigate site includes a handy search tool for retrieving case studies according to keyword and selecting the specific variables such as tactic, target, mitigation, or outcome.

As of this writing, the casebook includes 14 case studies, but the goal is to grow the casebook to contain 100. The team is seeking to enlist a coalition of interested volunteers to train and assist in the effort. Existing cases include such high-profile events as the recent dissemination of Distributed Amplification: The Plandemic Documentary and the misidentification of the Parkland shooter.

The “Methods” section contains a clear explanation of the Media Manipulation Life Cycle model, as well as the resourceful Code Book that describes the rigorous and research-based methods to analyze and catalog the case studies. Also included is an in-depth “primer on investigative digital ethnography,” which explains specific methodologies to examine disinformation campaigns.

The “Definitions” section provides a useful glossary defining standard terms, as well as the variables used to code cases. Other website areas include an “About Us” and a “Research” section, which provide information about the accomplished team of researchers who developed the casebook and links to relevant research reports, tip sheets, and articles.

The Media Manipulation Casebook is an exceptional site. It is highly recommended for researchers, educators, students, or anyone who wants to learn and build the necessary critical thinking and media literacy skills to debunk disinformation.—Colleen Lougen, SUNY-New Paltz, lougenc@newpaltz.edu

Religious Freedom Institute. Access: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/.

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI)—whose stated mission is to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere—was founded in 2016 by Tom Farr, Tim Shaw, and Byron Johnson. RFI’s homepage provides an easy-to-navigate toolbar, including links to “Events,” “About,” and “Programs.” Recent publications can be found under “Latest from RFI,” and includes the “Impact Report 2019,” essentially RFI’s annual report. Also available are Landscape Reports, which provide a thorough analysis of the legal, political, and social conditions that shape religious freedom in a particular country and the prospects for advancing it in the future. Especially timely is the report on Burma, which discusses the genocidal levels of violence against the predominantly Muslim Rohingya minority in Rakhine state as well as attacks against Christians and Muslims elsewhere in the country. This Landscape Report contains background material, Challenges to Religious Freedom, and SWOT Analysis.

“Events” provides links to recent webinars sponsored by RFI, such as “More Rights, Less Freedom? Recent Supreme Court Cases & the Future of Religious Freedom” and “Scapegoating the Faithful in the COVID-19 Crisis: A Conversation with Katherine Marshall.” “About” explains the history and mission of RFI.

To further its mission, RFI established five Action Teams (introduced by the toolbar under the heading “Programs”). The three Regional Action Teams (Middle East, North America, South and Southeast Asia) seek to advance religious freedom in their respective societies. The teams strive to persuade government leaders that religious freedom strengthens their own stability and security. The remaining two Functional Action Teams, namely the International Religious Freedom Policy and Islam and Religious Freedom teams, are tasked respectively with providing religious freedom training for government employees and supporting religious freedom within the traditions of Islam.

Brief professional biographies of RIF’s leadership team, associated scholars, and board members are available from the homepage. RFI presents a relatively conservative (albeit not right wing) perspective on issues of religious freedom. The RFI website is long on commentary and policy suggestions, but not especially useful as a statistical source. The information on RFI’s website appears to be updated periodically, but not regularly. The website will prove useful background information for undergraduate research assignments and perhaps for targeted groups of graduate students.—Wendell G. Johnson, Northern Illinois University, wjohnso1@niu.edu

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