An Every-Day Exercise in Information Literacy

It began with an interesting tidbit from Google news regarding The Hobbit films.  Two sites-Superman Homepage and Comic Book Movie-claimed The Hobbit and Man of Steel will swap release dates.  Both pointed to another website called Think McFlyThink claiming The Hobbit fell behind and Peter Jackson wants a new release date to insure the high quality of the films.  It must be true right?

If the story is true then Nathan Fillion plans to spend Christmas with me. I wrote it, published it on the Internet, therefore it must be true.

My BS detector went off the moment the two  aforementioned sites published the story.  I watched the The Hobbit Production videos, I knew the same team responsible for The Lord of the Rings came back for these two movies.  Plus Peter Jackson looks like the kind of guy who would keep fans posted and can meet a deadline.  On top of everything else both sites did not scream credible.  Why? Comic Book movie is mostly a fan site and it’s a geek paradise publishing anything related to a superhero project.  Rather than talk about if it’s true, or if the source is credible, the rumour goes online.  I admit hearing a site like Think McFly Think ‘broke’ the story dialed up the BS detector to one hundred.  The other source, Superman Home Page, didn’t seem interested in questioning the story either.  It’s a new Superman movie, directed by Zach Snyder (300) and produced by Christopher Nolan (Inception), which gives reason for people to start their nerdy salivating right now.

Not to say I didn’t consider both films could switch and The Hobbit coul come out in 2013 instead of next year.  I knew the date of the last production video was quite a while ago, the film had a number of problems getting off the ground, and they even structured the filming around Sherlock to make sure Martin Freeman takes on the feet as Bilbo Baggins.  May be it’s true, I thought, and I need to wait for some official word.  I had a number of possibilities I located, identified, and will use to effectively evaluate the information. (Those three terms come from an article cited below.) I waited for Peter Jackson himself to make some announcement either through FaceBook or The Hobbit official site.  I also waited for a credible entertainment news source and Entertainment Weekly is my ‘go to’ site.  I did have one fan site I trust in The Onering.net.  Why?  The Onering has a history, if you don’t believe me believe Elijah Wood.

Notice the gears turning through out this entry. I may have read it on the Internet, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.  It turns out the two films will get released as planned.  The Onering.net reported it as did a website called Cinema Blend, both having some kind of relationship with people involved in the film, or can credibly write about it.  Eventually a rep from Warner Brothers did put out a final definitive word  and that word is nobody is swapping anything.  Building information literacy skills takes time and Google does not do it all despite what people may think.  Google cannot do your thinking for you. ( Seriously, it should be a chant like ‘Om….Google cannot think for you…Ommmmmm”)

Whether you looking to see if The Hobbit will release in December 2012, or researching the latest topic for a paper,  the questions remain the same:

  1. Can I trust the information?
  2. Does it answer my question?
  3. Who put this out?

Libraries provide the resources and instruction to search out the answers from books, to databases and beyond.  People believe Librarians and Library Techs know everything.  In reality we don’t know everything, just how to seek the answers out.  Time to emerge from your own personal hobbit hole and take on the information literacy quest.

Works Cited

Koufogiannakis, D., & Wiebe, N. (2006). Effective Methods for Teaching Information Literacy Skills to Undergraduate Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Evidence Based Library And Information Practice, 1(3), 3-43. Retrieved from http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/76

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