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Read Between the Lines – Library Month 2022

webcard for library month, blue background, tag line

Oct 06, 2022

People are in information overload as we are bombarded with news, facts and hot takes all the time and it feels like more than we can handle. Overconsumption of information is producing a "post-truth" society, which many witnessed firsthand in downtown Ottawa this past winter. To distinguish good information from bad information, one must be able to think critically and evaluate the credibility of sources. During Library month this October, Ottawa Public Library is going to show you how to “Read Between the Lines” and learn skills to assess the content of what you see on the internet so you don’t contribute to the spread of false facts.  

 Two terms that get used a lot when talking about the spread of bad information on social media are ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’.  

Misinformation is incorrect information circulated without intent to mislead the user, so is more like an unreliable rumour that’s unverified.  
Disinformation is the intentional distortion of the information for a purpose or to mislead, what we now call ‘fake news’.  

Neither of these concepts is new but the speed at which either misinformation and disinformation get shared on social media is astonishing, and it can be hard to separate fiction from reality, especially if the ‘facts’ fit in with preconceived notions we have on topics. We’ve all heard the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, but it gets harder to know if things are actually true.

Some great websites to counter misinformation and disinformation are: > A good set of frequently asked questions from the University of Toronto > Some great information from Simon Fraser University > Most people have seen the House Hippos commercial on TV and it serves as a good reminder for us to take time to check facts before reacting. 

You can also use some tools on the internet to help you verify whether a story is true or false: one of the most used sites for fact checking on the internet 

Google Fact Check Explorer:  This allows you to search or browse recent fact checks from multiple sources at once. 

OSoMe Tools : A series of web tools created by the Indiana University's Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe) team to help combat the spread of misinformation. Of note is the Botometer which scores Twitter accounts based on how likely it is a bot, often a prime source of disinformation. 

Google Reverse Image Search : this allows you to search and find the actual source of a viral image. 

Internet Archive - Wayback Machine: Use the Wayback Machine to see what a website used to look like. is an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigation to probe a variety of subjects. 


Love this initiative!

Thanks so much for pointing us all in the right direction and supplying these tools to help us sort through the labyrinth of information out there! Kudos OPL! Kindly Sue