Media Literacy E-Resources | Reference 2018

The fight against “fake news” isn’t new to librarians, but with patrons anxious about identifying misinformation, these resources are more crucial than ever. Moving beyond the basics, these free tools provide creative avenues for honing media literacy skills, from uncovering politicians’ suppressed tweets to accessing the latest in facial recognition software.

Court Listener

www.courtlistener.com

Librarians who find themselves fielding legal questions can point patrons to this resource that compiles legal opinions. Started by the Free Law Project, the site offers access to court documents from 402 jurisdictions. Users can search by case name, topic, or citation. A subsection of the site (ow.ly/1K2J30fiLUD) features oral arguments, with MP3s.

Face-o-Matic

blog.archive.org/2017/07/19/introducing-face-o-matic

Like a Google Alert for faces, Face-o-Matic, from the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive, is an experimental release that lets users know through the app Slack whenever Donald Trump or congressional leaders appear on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, or the BBC. Though the service is still in its early days, the implications of facial recognition software are fraught; this innovation may revolutionize the way we access and understand the news.

Kaiser Health News Morning Briefing

khn.org/latest-morning-briefing

These authoritative daily roundups from nonprofit Kaiser Health, which offers a combination of original reporting and content from other outlets, are vital for staying up-to-date on everything from the opioid epidemic to ­efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Users can subscribe to RSS feeds and sign up for email alerts and newsletters. What distinguishes this resource from similar ones is Kaiser’s credibility—no small thing when it comes to such a charged topic.

International Statistical Activities

www.unece.org/stats/links.html

Often fake news is generated by tweaking real statistics, so access to verified data is essential. This directory from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe groups national statistical organizations by country; for the United States it lists the Census Bureau and the Energy Information Administration, among others.

Microsoft Academic

academic.microsoft.com

This academic search engine, which has been in development over the past 18 months, offers access to a wealth of material. It distinguishes itself from Google Scholar in that it allows ­patrons to focus search results by organization, journal, and field of study.

News Lookup

newslookup.com

One of the better news search tools beyond Google, this site breaks down the latest information. Drop-down menus let users search for news by region, topic (business, entertainment, health, etc.), people, and more. Patrons can bookmark a subject to return to for more news. The homepage continuously updates with recent headlines. Notably, a drop-down menu offers both right- and left-wing sources for U.S. politics, and the site’s mix of U.S. and international news sets it apart from similar options.

OneTab

www.one-tab.com

Spend enough time searching the ­Internet and a screen filled with dozens of open tabs is inevitable. This browser extension for Chrome and Firefox prevents users from becoming overwhelmed. Just click the OneTab icon to close all tabs and compile a record of them. Users can even send a list of their tabs to others, making this resource ideal for shared presentations. Best of all, it saves up to 95 percent of computer memory.

Politwoops

projects.propublica.org/politwoops

With Politwoops, users have the power to hold politicians accountable. The resource catalogs tweets deleted by public officials and lists the date and time they were removed and how long they were live before being taken down. While some tweets are erased for innocuous reasons (on September 19, 2017, U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold deleted one in order to add missing information), others may reveal politicians’ efforts to reshape their image by eliminating inflammatory messages (on February 3, 2016, Donald Trump took down a tweet stating, “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he illegally stole it”). Politwoops is also available for a number of other countries including Canada and the UK. (www.politwoops.eu/countries).

Sports Reference

www.sports-reference.com

This resource more than meets its goal of being one of the most accessible, ­authoritative compilations of sports ­statistics. Users can find information on a favorite player, league, team, coach, and more and even create their own stats.

TV News Archive

archive.org/details/tv

Fact-checking just got easier. This resource from the Internet Archive, the company behind the WayBack ­Machine (which saves every piece of material on the web), allows users to search the closed captions from a number of U.S. television networks. Though the video clips it returns are only about one minute long, they’re perfect for verifying quotes. Users can filter results by show, channel, date, topic, and more. “Special collections” devoted to, for instance, Congress or President Trump are listed, as are trending videos and ­recent searches.

2016 Global Go to Think Tank Index Report

repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=think_tanks

Think tanks, which present data and opinions and highlight expert sources, are helpful for those seeking reputable information. This 2016 report from the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania indexes and ranks the top institutions by region, subject area, budget, and more.

Twerker App

twerkerapp.com

Billed as “Fake news. Your way,” this provocative app allows users to open up any web page and replace it with text or images of their choosing. Though the resource provides hours of entertainment, it also makes a larger point—it’s never safe to let our guard down when it comes to information consumption.

Unpaywall

unpaywall.org

Making waves in the academic world, this browser extension searches for free versions of journal or newspaper articles hidden behind paywalls. The articles are often preprint (meaning they might not yet have been proofread or may be missing charts) but are almost identical to the published versions. Users verifying facts or confirming quotes will find this resource ­invaluable.

World Radio Map

worldradiomap.com

Tune in to AM/FM radio stations all over the world, from Albany, NY, to Zanzibar, Tanzania. Users can browse a map or consult a list of cities to find and stream content. This straight­forward directory offers a wealth of content, particularly for patrons looking to find music, news, and more from their countries of origin.

Gary Price aggregates LJ’s INFOdocket, and Mahnaz Dar is Assistant Managing Editor, LJ & SLJ

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