The Library Breakfast offered talk about filter bubbles and source criticism

Yesterday, there was a Library Breakfast at the library again, this time with the subject of filter bubbles and source criticism. Sara Hellberg and Pieta Eklund briefly explained where the concept of filter bubbles came from and what it really means. Several examples were raised on both so-called fake news, what is charted about us on social media, post truth and confusion bias.

They think that even though the news situation today can make sense hopelessly and dystopically, it is ultimately about how we ourselves relate to the whole and the responsibility we actually take to get into and control the news we see on the internet. Its mostly up to ourselves, but it has also revealed more official requirements that someone should nevertheless take responsibility for all the information that thrives on the internet. For example, there is now a new report available that addresses just this, compiled by, among others, Jack Werner who previously worked with the Viralgranskaren. (which incidentally won the Social Media Prize 2017)

But what can you do in practice if you want to get as accurate and good news as possible and take you out of the bubble?:

  • Clear cookies and history in your browser
  • Review your privacy settings for services like Google and Facebook
  • Keep in mind that search terms affect search results
  • Disconnect! Embrace, discuss and retrieve facts AFK (away from keyboard)
  • Step outside your comfort zone
  • Create your own opinion

Suggested Reading:

IIS, Online Source Guide. is a service that lets you see how different debates sound in the three ideological filter bubbles that characterize Swedish domestic politics, from left to right.

Do you want to know more? Mail Sara or Pieta.

Text: Lena Holmberg
Photo: Christel Olsson

Teaching Information Literacy at the Library

1At the library we are five librarians involved in teaching students information literacy skills. It is Christel (as you see in the picture), she is responsible mainly for the students who are studying Education,  Birgitta for the Librarianship, Information  and Engineering, Sara for Web Editors, the Caring Science and Social Wellfare, Karin for Textiles and Fashion and Lena is responsible for the students who are studying Business, Informatics and Work Life.

Since 2009, the teaching is planned according to a model in which we librarians are planning together with the programme managers and course coordinators at the faculties. It aims to support students in developing information literacy skills. To achieve the best results the education has to be integrated into regular courses. It is important that there is a study assignment in the course that can be linked to information seeking.  The teaching will never be the same, but vary by student subjects and skills. It it free of charges for the faculties.

Optimally, we teach information seeking tree times during the student’s study time here.  It is  very clear that those who take the opportunity to come, often discover that it is not the same to seek scientific information and what they need for their studies as searching or googling the information they need in their everyday lives. The cooperation Library-Faculty is also important for us to get information about the size of the groups and previous knowledge, etc.

We have progression in our teaching so the first time the student comes to us, she or he learn to  search, evaluate  information generally in some common resources such as the library catalog Summon.  The second level provides a deeper knowledge  in the scientific information retrieval process. We introduce different search strategies. In the third  level, we demonstrate systematic information retrieval in relevant databases, eg thesaurus construction and to use search history and citation indexes. Although reference management software as EndNote usually included here. The last step will be helpful before and during the whole thesis.

The students study assignment for these educations are  often to search, evaluate and use scientific information on a given topic. Therefore, we almost always teach in form of a workshop. The students need to sit down and try to do different searches on their own. They have the librarian to consult.  At the library, we have  our own classroom ( J438) with computers. We think it is good that the students come to us at the library so they get used to come here.

Contacts for teaching

Text and photo: Lena Wadell

Source criticism and plagiarism

You might be in the midst of searching for scientific articles for your thesis or assignment. Do not forget to think critically when you do this work!

COLOURBOX1947363Source criticism is a method to examine the information and facts contained in the sources you choose to use. You value the sources and choose carefully what you want to include. Do not forget to use source criticism on other than text. For example pictures and video that nowdays are equally important to source view given how much you can edit and process them. Remember to differentiate between a primary source and secondary source. The Academy is considered primary sources (first-hand) to be more reliable. You can use following questions, irrespective of the material:

  • Who is the author of your source?
  • For what purpose is it published?
  • Is the research still relevant?
  • Where have the research been published? Has it been reviewed? ( peer-review)
  • Can other check the results?
  • What information do you get from other sources at the same event?
  • If others have done similar studies, which results have they reached?
  • Does the timing in movies and audio clips add up?
  • Who funded the research?
  • Does the results seem trustworthy? Are there other sources that are trustworthy to say the same thing?
  • Are the conclusions reasonable based on the theory and methodology used?

Take a look at the web page Källlkritik on the Internet which is a guide that .SE stands behind and which shows how you can review content on web pages.

It can be helpful to know what obligations you as the author of your essay or thesis have regarding plagiarism. On the University web you can find a great anti-plagiarism guide where most aspects of this matter are included. It is available through Ping Pong, but also open on the web from this page (click on the link in the text far down on the page).
And please see the movie where our former librarian Eli Bytoft-Nyaas is talking about the subject and deal critically  with sources and references. The anti-plagiarism tutorial included Urkund, a plagiarism handbook that inlcudes a list to look at if you want to know what actually is plagiarism when writing.

Text: Lena Holmberg
Bild. Colourbox

Think about plagiarism when writing an essay

In these essay times it may be useful to know what obligations you as the author of your essay have regarding plagiarism. On the University web there is a great anti-plagiarism guide where most aspects of this are included. You can access it via Ping Pong, but also open on the web from this page (click on the link in text far down on the page). You can read more about plagiarism and academic integrity here. Think carefully when you deal with sources and references.

Good luck with your writing!


Text: Lena Holmberg

Academic texts, part 1: Peer review

Questions of how to find a scientific article continues to flow in, so we pick up Helena Francke’s series of articles in our blog from last fall about scientific texts. Part one deals with the concept of peer review:

An important aspect in research is to review each other’s work. Is the research done in a proper manner and are the conclutions reasonable? The normal way to do this is through peer review. Articles which have been peer reviewed are called refereed articles. This means that a text is reviewed by one or more researchers within the specific research area. The reviewer should not be too close to the author. The reviewers should judge whether the article is good enough to be published, how it could be made better – and preferably catch mistakes and errors. A decision is then made by the editor if the article will be published or not.

Peer review differs a bit from research area to research area. In some research areas peer review is not the usual where as in other areas it is unthinkable to use material which has not been peer reviewed.

How do you know when a text is peer reviewed or not? When it comes to journals it is usually stated in the journal issue, on the web page or even in the article.

  • It can be very clear on the cover of the journal, e.g. ”PLOS Biology is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal featuring research articles of exceptional significance in all areas of biological science, from molecules to ecosystems.”
  • There might be guidelines for reviewers, e.g. ”Reviewer guidelines”. The review process is probably described, more or less in detail. See e.g. PLOS Biology Guidelines for Reviewers.
  • There might be guidelines for authors, e.g. Author guidelines e.g. Human IT (in Swedish).

As shown in the Human IT case a journal may contain both peer reviewed articles and articles which have gone through an editiorial review.

Conference papers are much like journal articles: it is not clear how much the conference has reviewed the contributions. Sometimes it is only a part of the paper which has been reviewed: the abstract rather than the whole paper. This is why you should be observant when it comes to which articles and papers have been peer reviewed.

When it comes ot scientific books, monographs (usually one author on one subject/aspect of a subject) it is harder to know if they are peer reviewed or not. Swedish books are usually not peer reviewed but they go though an editorial review. There are ongoing discussions to introduce peer review for monographs. However, British and North American monographs are often peer reviewed.

Anthologies, a book with chapters from a number of authors, are a bit different. Sometimes the authors have reviewed each others contributions, sort of an internal review but anthologies might have external reviewers aswell. In this case there is an acknowlegement in the finished book.

Of course peer review is not a quality guarantee that the research is done well and well argumented for but it is the most widespread and reliable system we have to quality review research.

//Helena Francke, lecturer at BHS

Blog posts are translated from Swedish by Pieta Eklund.