Tag Archives: Information

Fake News, Evidence Ignored and Knowledge Dismissed

We cannot fail to notice, both professionally and personally, the discussions taking place about information, evidence and knowledge.  How information is used, misinformation shared, known evidence dismissed and knowledge withheld.

One example of fake news was described on Newsnight on August 23rd 2017*. An American travelled 500 miles with a rifle to “self-investigate” a pizza restaurant where an alleged paedophile ring operated and kept under-age children against their will. This news had been reported widely in print and on social media. The source of this news was an investigation into the emails of Hillary Clinton’s personal campaign manager. It was reported that the emails contained the words “cheese pizza” which were thought to be code for “child p-graphy”. The two words shared the same initial letters: c and p. Three shots were fired in the restaurant, there were no under-age children being held and thankfully no-one was hurt.

As we can see from the fake news story, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” (itself a misquote from the poet Alexander Pope) but knowledge can also empower us, enable us to say “no”, to achieve, to understand, to form judgements and to make decisions.

We work every day to collect and supply information, signpost evidence and ensure knowledge is mobilised and used in our organisations.  We enable evidence to be used in decision-making, we support the growth of knowledge rich organisations as well as delivering training to help staff critically appraise or discern the usefulness and validity of information. It is that learnt skill that enables wise choices and the avoidance of “fake news”, or in our terms, weak evidence.

But we also need to turn the spotlight on ourselves and ask ourselves questions too.

How do we use information, evidence and knowledge? What is the weak evidence that we use to justify our policies and practices? What are the knowledge needs, preferences and behaviours of the healthcare staff, students, patients and public who use our services? To help us understand these knowledge needs and preferences, two librarians in the South have created a bulletin for us to use.  Please read the bulletin, critically appraise what is included and collectively and individually let’s constructively challenge one another to ensure that facts matter, evidence is crucial and knowledge enables good decisions to be made.

The bulletin will be produced four times a year in September, November, January and March. It will be circulated via your library and knowledge services leads, so look out for the September edition due very soon.

POST UPDATE 4 October 2018: The bulletin is available from http://www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/forlibrarystaff/knb.html

Sue Robertson
Knowledge Services Development Lead (South)

* Eugene Robinson. Newsnight. 23rd August 2017 https://subsaga.com/bbc/news/newsnight/2017/08/23.html


How do Library and Information Science students choose their sector?

CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) recently conducted a small survey of current Library and Information Science (LIS) students to establish how they make their career decisions. How do they decide which sector they want to work in? Where do they look for information and guidance? The short survey was sent to all CILIP student members and also distributed via LIS learning provider contacts. We received 48 responses.

The first question we asked was “Have you already decided on a particular sector you would most like to work in after completing your studies?: 81% of respondents had already decided upon a sector with 6 of the 48 respondents (13%) identifying Health as their sector of interest.

We were interested in finding out where students look for information and guidance when making their decisions (respondents were not limited to one selection).
CILIP was by far the most popular choice with 21 of the 48 citing CILIP itself, in addition CILIP’s jobs board Lisjobnet received 7 specific mentions and the CILIP Special Interest Groups were also mentioned 5 times. Away from CILIP, the next most popular sources were: colleagues (10 mentions), social media (7 mentions) and Blogs (5 mentions) and the website jobs.ac.uk (5 mentions). There were a variety of other sources, including Health Education England, with 4 or less mentions.

As well as knowing where students were looking, we also wanted to know in what format they liked to access the information. 46 respondents answered this question and they were not limited to one selection. Blogs were the most popular format with 91% of respondents identifying them, the next most popular answer “Forums” was identified by 30% of respondents. Books remained relatively popular too with 26% of respondents citing them. Webinars, leaflets and podcasts were identified by 17%, 4% and 2% of respondents respectively.

What was interesting was that we gave respondents an “other” option and in here we found evidence that it is one to one advice that they value. Under “other” they listed: Asking established professionals, asking classmates, face to face discussion, open days and Twitter. This, along with the popularity of blogs as a format, highlight that it is discussion and personal endorsement, whether online or face to face, that students are seeking to support their decision making. This was further evidenced when we asked the students what other resources they would like to have available: “A day in the life of”, career mentors, information on transferable skills, interviews with people in different sectors. It is therefore well worth knowing then that Knowledge for Healthcare is developing resources detailing the different LKS roles in health and social care to act as career guides and CILIP’s soon to be launched Careers Hub will provide this content across the sectors.

The survey, though small has provided useful insight into how we could approach student engagement. Recent contact with LIS learning providers has highlighted that some students are already working in their chosen sector before undertaking their qualifications. Future surveys might want to separate responses from those already decided on sector when beginning their course and those who are yet to decide, or be persuaded.

Jo Cornish, Development Officer at CILIP