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Fake News: Getting Started

LibGuide on identifying fake news

Types of Misinformation

There are three types of misinformation.  It is important to know the difference when researching, in order to understand what you are reading and why it may sound distrustful or incorrect.

  • Misinformation - inaccurate information; not necessarily on purpose
  • Disinformation - inaccurate information; intentionally misleading and deliberately shared
  • Fake News - News stories (or sources) that report in certain ways that sway the narrative, leave out important details, or just plainly report false information

Why Care about Fake News?


Access to accurate news reporting is critical for active participation in a democratic society. Read like a fact-checker.1 Open a new page in your browser, and search around to ask questions and seek out multiple viewpoints. 

Symbol for Caution

Citing fake news sources destroys your credibility. If your arguments are rooted in information that has been proven false, it will impact your reputation as a scholar and a professional. Look for news sources that follow the Code of Ethics outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists.


Searching Google is not a special skill -- anyone can do it. Learning to research with academic journals and discipline-specific databases is a valuable skill that we are proud to teach at the library. Whether you are writing a research paper, voting in an election, preparing for a job interview, or researching for personal interest, you can find a wide collection of resources at the library to support your research.


You can always ask a librarian for help navigating resources at the library. There is no such thing as a dumb question. You are not bothering us -- helping you access information is our job.

The above is from Wineburg, Sam, and Sarah McGrew. "Why Students Can't Google Their Way to the Truth." Education Week. Vol. 6, no. 11 (November 2, 2016): 22, 28.

Images courtesy of

Faked Out

"Fake news" media coverage

  • CNN reports that most Americans think they can spot fake news, but many fall victim to its content online.
  • PEW Research Center reports on the future of digital spaces and the content, social media sites, and social habits that lead to Americans falling victim to misinformation and fake news.
  • The Scientific American Periodical Journal and online news source reports that information overload, due to extended social media use, helps fake news spread
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