This week at TRY, I’ll be presenting the results of a study that I conducted last year with my research partner, Emily Shearer. Here’s the abstract:
The connections between webpages shape the landscape of the web. Could the connections that you create—specifically hyperlinks—be inadvertently causing harm? This talk will discuss a study on inlink data, focusing on a hate propaganda page and the libraries and educational websites that link to it. As this study shows, web information literacy skills are needed among librarians engaged in web publishing to avoid links like this that promoted hate speech and misinformation. Given the current political climate, hate speech and webpages containing misinformation are increasingly relevant topics of engagement for library workers. This talk will cover the very practical ways to avoid linking to disreputable pages, as well as more esoteric questions concerning hate speech online and some of the inherent problems with relying on web search result ranking from companies such as Google.
I’m pretty thrilled to be doing this because a) hate speech on the web is awful and b) librarians may be inadvertently contributing to that awfulness through poor hyperlink practices. More so, as information professionals it’s important to learn more about the structure of the web, to question it, and to be able to understand its function and its implications.