Fake News – Fake News! : A library conference on Fighting Fake News #LSBUFakeNews2018

MmIT Chair Andy Tattersall writes: 


Fake News is a term that we are increasingly hearing about across the Web, especially by the ‘Leader of the Free World’, often in relation to unfavourable news coverage for him. It’s not the most savoury of terms and does not really capture the wider issues relating to it which range from poor information literacy to biased reporting of science across the media.


Last month the London South Bank University, Library and Learning Resources grabbed the initiative and hosted their inaugural Fake News conference aimed at librarians and information professionals: This Is Not A Fake Conference!   You can view the speakers’ slides and tweets with the Twitter hashtag: #LSBUFakeNews2018


I was invited to speak at the conference and discussed the connection between academics and how they work with the media and the problems of misreporting, bias and cherry picked results. I talked about Altmetrics as a way to follow the media coverage and to gain credit for an academic’s potential impact and how far their scholarly communications can travel across the web. It also helps to make research Open Access so that those reading the media coverage can read the actual published research for themselves. My presentation slides are now online: New research needs to be better reported and librarians can help with that.

My talk was based on this earlier blog post Working with the media can be beneficial but linking to and citing your research should be compulsory.  I have also written on the topic for The Conversation with a piece entitled New research must be better reported, the future of society depends on it.


I was not sure whether the event would be just a collection of repetitive library resource talks on ‘how we teach students to assess news and information’. Naturally there were talks on the topic, but the range and richness of the presentations were really interesting. We heard how Fake News works and how it is getting worse by Adam Blackwell (Proquest), and gained fascinating insights from Rita Marcella and Graeme Baxter (Robert Gordon University) that Fake News does not have a long term negative effect on those propagating it.


There were several talks from the Universities of Nottingham, Roehampton and Cambridge,  amongst others, about the various ways they were working with students and staff to teach information literacy skills. Everyone had different ideas and ways of supporting people, all of which were very valid and full of great potential. I was particularly impressed by Peter Keep and Robin Pomeroy talking about their inspiring Charlotte Project (named after journalist Charlotte Cooper) which works with journalism students aged 15-18 to enable them to navigate the maze of news, blogs and commentary with a critical eye.


As a former journalist, I found the conference really engaging and suggested that alongside the one Reuters journalist in attendance (from The Charlotte Project) that they should look to invite more members of the media for the next conference. I am fairly certain that this will happen as the conference was really well attended with a packed lecture theatre and a full day of interesting talks. Obviously the issue of Fake News (or information illiteracy/corruption for want of better names) is not going to go away. The power of social media and Web 2.0 means we can all publish content and of course some people with negative agendas are doing so, often with impunity. Library and information professionals are especially qualified to work in this area and help students, professionals and members of the public better critically appraise information for its authenticity and credibility. Conferences like this are a great place to start that call to action within the sector that can only help benefit the rest of society.


The conference has resulted in a Jiscmail list being established for library and information professionals to share content and resources on Fake News for librarians. You can join the mailing list here: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=LIS-FAKENEWS 


This month I published another article in The Conversation which may be of interest to readers on the topic: In the era of Brexit and fake news, scientists need to embrace social media.



Andy Tattersall takes over as the Chair of the Cilip specialist interest Group MmIT.

Andy Tattersall has taken over as the Chair of the Cilip specialist interest Group MmIT.  MmIT aims to unite CILIP members engaged in, or interested in, multimedia information and technology developments in library and information science. The group is concerned with the organisation, delivery and exploration of information through modern media including graphic forms, video and web tattersall-smallbased applications. The Committee’s remit is to support 1500 members in the group by running regular events, a yearly conference and a quarterly journal. Andy has written about taking over as Chair of the committee and what their plans are for 2017 and beyond.

I want to say what an honour it is for me to formally take over as the Chair of the Cilip specialist interest group for Multimedia and Information Technology (MmIT). Not only because of my passion in this area and the work this group does but also to follow in the steps of my esteemed committee colleague and friend Leo Appleton. I cannot stress enough how Leo has been a very important part of MmIT over the past decade and is now starting in an exciting new position as Director of Library Services at Goldsmiths. I want to publicly thank Leo for all of his energy and leadership in steering MmIT through many waters, sometimes choppy ones at that. He was a large reason for me joining the committee over six years ago and I am delighted that he is staying with us and taking on the challenge of taking our long running journal into uncharted open access territory. Leo steps down leaving MmIT entering arguably its most positive and exciting period since I joined the committee.

As I step into the chair’s role from that of secretary, it also means many changes are afoot within our
committee structure. Firstly Catherine Dhanjal has stepped down from the committee as our journal editor. Catherine brought a tremendous amount of skills and contacts to the committee and ensured the very smooth running of the MmIT Journal over many years. She will be sorely missed by all of us who have served on the committee with her and we wish her all the best in her own enterprises as she continues to run her own successful consultancy. With Catherine stepping down it left us with a decision as to the future of the journal. After much discussion we agreed that the journal should go fully open access on a quarterly basis. The content and quality of the journal will remain the same as it focuses on technology and libraries and will be edited by Leo.

I’m pleased to report that John Bottomley, who works for OCLC, will remain as our treasurer for the next year, giving us some degree of consistency on the committee. John has excelled in his honorary position and ensures that MmIT remains in a healthy financial state. Ruth Wilson from Edge Hill University has stepped into my old shoes as secretary, a role that I am certain will aid the smooth running of the committee and all of its ventures. I’m also very pleased that we have Nic Kerr from The University of Liverpool who has been invaluable in the smooth organising of our events, of which we plan many more over the next few years. Dia Mexi-Jones and Lizzie Sparrow continue to help guide and support the marketing and communication activities of the committee.

 One of the best gifts Leo could give us before he stepped down as Chair was to be very proactive in recruiting new members to our committee. I am happy to report that we have five new committee members who bring together a superb collection of skills and insights that I am sure will drive MmIT forward. The addition of such experts in our field of work will no doubt make us more valuable to our 1500 members and everyone involved in the library and information sector. I’m pleased to announce the five new appointments.

Luke Burton – Digital Transformation Manager – Newcastle City Council

Antony Groves – Learning and Teaching Librarian – University of Sussex

Alison McNab – Academic Librarian – The University of Huddersfield

Virginia Power – Graduate Tutor – University of West England

Claire Nicholas-Walker – Electronic Resources Librarian – Lewisham Public Libraries

I have been aware of the work of some of the new committee members for some time and am very excited about the prospect of working with them to take MmIT to new audiences and deliver fresh ideas and content. In 2017 we will launch many new initiatives by the group that I am sure will be of interest to MmIT, Cilip members as well as librarians, information and knowledge professionals across the UK. These changes will include the aforementioned new journal model that everyone will be able to access without subscription. We will host our fifth national conference on the 14th September at The University of Sheffield on the topic of ‘Open’. We will be sharing details about conference submissions in the next few weeks on the theme that ranges from open libraries, research, education, spaces, data among other strands. We are also planning the delivery of yearly half day workshop events that we will host around the country, as well as a yearly webinar event. If any of this appeals to you then there are several ways you can keep up to date with MmIT. Firstly by joining the group as a member, either by selecting it as one of your special interest groups if you are a Cilip member. Or you can still join us for a yearly fee of £40 without being a Cilip member. You can follow our blog and Twitter accounts for regular updates.

I remember when I joined the committee in September 2010 and there was much discussion about whether the group should continue. Given it had begun a few decades earlier with an original remit pre-dating the web, the committee questioned their relevance today in a world that no longer worked in microfiche, video, CDs or talked about ‘multimedia’. Back then I wondered why such a question should be asked, as more than ever there was a need to understand the ever changing world of technology and media as a profession. I feel the committee does have a valuable remit, more important than ever given how technologies seep into every part of our personal and professionals lives. There are a growing number of technologies and websites we can leverage for our organisations and our professional development. Our committee’s aim will be to explore as many of these as we can and share what we find with you. We will look to working with external partners, experts, writers and speakers and help support the library and information community as we always have. Hopefully through a new model, new committee members and new opportunities to impart knowledge we will help support our community better than ever before.

You can find out more about the committee by going to the Cilip website




Final conference programme announced

While you’re making your way to Sheffield for our annual conference, which starts tomorrow, have a look through our final programme to choose your workshop sessions.

Our keynote speakers include Dr. Graham McElearney (The University of Sheffield), Liz McGettigan (SOLUS), and Richard Ranft (British Library). If you’ve registered for the conference dinner, you’ll also be treated to a speech by Tony Thompson, one of our founding members.

Safe travels, and we look forward to meeting you tomorrow!


Abstracts now available for our annual conference

It’s not too late to register for the MmIT annual conference, 11-12 September 2014, in Sheffield.

We’re delighted to provide the abstracts for our keynote lectures and all of the parallel workshop sessions.

Register your place now on EventBrite.

We look forward to welcoming you to Sheffield!

Latest issue of MmIT journal now online


Cover image: © Theodor38 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

MmIT group members and journal subscribers can now read the latest issue of our journal.


MmIT Journal May 2014

Contents include:

News: MmIT Group’s annual conference ‘Sight and Sound’ (11-12 September 2014, Sheffield)

· Free images of New Zealand, online audio stories from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

BFI News:

· The Werner Herzog Collection

· Alain Robbe-Grillet. Six Films 1963-1974

· The Driving Force, from the BFI’s British Transport Films Collection

· Reviews:

· Product review: Plustek SmartOffice SC8016U Scanner

· Product review: Impactology Impact Trio for iPhone 5


· GPS & wearable devices

· Making audio engaging

· Effective e-moderation

· Design of digital libraries

· BoB – national TV and radio recording service

· Jisc’s summer of student innovation in FE and HE


· Snap together modular smartphones, Project Ara

· WiFi in the sky

· Securing your mobile world
– See more at: http://www.cilip.org.uk/multimedia-information-and-technology-group/mmit-journal/mmit-journal-current-issues#sthash.2Q9WFEDY.dpuf

Last chance for free tickets to our AGM

Please join us for our AGM at CILIP HQ in London on Tuesday, 17 December.

After a free buffet lunch, we will hear from a number of speakers on the topic of “The Changing Landscape of Library Technologies: Implications for the Library”.

12.30 p.m. – 1.30 p.m. Registration and lunch
1.30 – Andy Tattersall, Information Specialist, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield.
2.10 – Nick Woolley, Head of Academic Library Services, Northumbria University
2.50 – MmIT AGM
3.15 – Refreshments
3.30 – Barbara Band, Head of Library & Resources, The Emmbrook School and CILIP Vice President
4.10 – Q&A
4.30 – Close

For more information and to book your place, please visit our EventBrite page.

We look forward to seeing you there to share some festive cheer!

RNIB – Reaching out to New Readers. Umbrella 2013.

RNIB’s talk at Umbrella 2013 began with the thought-provoking statistic that already one in eight people in the UK have difficulty reading print… and with that figure set to double by 2050 due to the aging population.

However, whilst there is a huge and growing need for accessible books, there’s a scarcity of supply, with just 7% of books transformed into an accessible format.

To help combat these problems, RNIB developed its Six Steps initiative and reports that almost all library authorities have now signed up to the Six Steps Promise. These range from agreeing to participate in Make a Noise in Libraries fortnight run annually in June, to designating a champion for the needs of blind and partially sighted people. The next goal is to work with HE and other sectors to implement the Six Steps more widely, with the help of Jisc TechDis.

There’s a wealth of information available on the websites (hyperlinked above) plus a series of workshops (described by delegates as “inspirational”) running across the country.

Remain Relevant and Valued… SLA’s Janice LaChance at Umbrella 2013

The opening keynote speech on day two of the 2013 Umbrella conference promised to address the challenges inherent in this critical time for information professionals. Delivered by the charismatic and energetic Janice LaChance, CEO of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), we learnt much about professional skills as well as some unexpected insights into Janice’s life working for President Clinton.

We were encouraged to learn from thought leaders both inside and outside the profession, a rallying cry I’ve also heard at other conferences where we’re encouraged to dialogue and engage and advocate with those outside the profession.

Librarians have many transferable skills, Janice pointed out, from organisation and reference to analysis and research and whilst the job title ‘librarian’ might be in decline, skills such as those will remain relevant for many other positions. “The market for jobs may be sluggish but the market for expertise is thriving,” she declared. The SLA’s membership of 9,000 includes over 2,000 different job titles – perhaps your next job might be content choreographer, VP market intelligence, or conflicts supervisor…

And the particular skills honed by information professionals can achieve more than we think – save lives, ensure justice is done and improve society, to quote a few examples Janice highlighted.

To remain relevant and valued, librarians need to demonstrate how their skills benefit their organisations and to focus more on promoting the value of their services. Being able to demonstrate ROI and to think and act like executives will provide new opportunities and ensure the information centre is aligned with the goals of the organisation and its senior management.

Thinking like an executive includes being able to answer questions such as those Bill Clinton would fire at Janice when she was his Chief of Staff: ‘What problems are you trying to solve right now/over the next few weeks/months?’, for example. And not just producing the right information at the right time but putting it into the hands of the right people, in the right format (eg mobile) and adding a layer of interpretation and analysis to the data.

Finally, she emphasised, the opportunities won’t come to you, you need to take risks and stretch yourself, believe you can make a difference, and to look for opportunities in places you wouldn’t usually… a theme which was to be reiterated by other speakers throughout the day.