Burkhardt, Joanna M. Media smart: lessons, tips and strategies for librarians, classroom instructors and other information professionals. Facet Publishing, 2022. xxviii, 216 p. ISBN 978-1-78330-508-7. £55.00.
The book written by Joanna Burkhardt, a Collection Manager and a Professor at the University of Rhode Island Libraries, who has a long standing interest in information literacy. Her latest book reflects this interest and also her deep concern about fighting disinformation and misinformation by the means of raising awareness and developing skills of detecting them from early on.
The author presents a clear and logical picture of her concern in the book. The first three chapters present the reasons for rising amount and effects of misinformation and disinformation, concentrating on the history of media manipulation, psychological reasons of believing and acceptig false information and how media manipulators take advantage of them. She also looks into the role of network technologies and their features enabling the processes of misinformation.
The rest of the book, all nine chapters are devoted to the development of skills for recognizing and resisiting media manipulation. It is interesting that these skills are related not only to the development of critical thinking skills of selecting sources, recognising authority or identifying specific language used in manipulations, but also go deeper into the detection of specific fakes created by using technologies, for example, bots, trolls and algorithms, data visualisation or deepfake tools. The author also pays due attention to the fact checking and the ethics of network media. The final chapter of the book brings together the content of the whole book into consize recommendations for the readers.
It seems that the content of the book is quite usual for any text on misinformation and disinformation. However, what makes this book unique is the pedagogical aim of it. The book is intended as an aid for teachers of media and information literacy and I would recommend it to those who want to develop their critical skills independently of any educational programmes and courses. The structure of the book includes a significant number of exercises to each chapter, which can be used in classrooms of upper secondary schools, adult trainings or even for the undergraduate students. Some of these exercises will require certain competence, e.g. understanding political communication or reading statistics. So, certain parts of this book can be used in specific courses on civil society, advertising, or information technologies. The exercises can also be simplified or serve as an example for developing original exercises. The adaptation of them to a specific environment will be necessary anyway, as the book is focused entirely on the US media and society.
The book is interesting to read as the style of the author is attractive and free of jargon; at the same time it is engaged and sometimes even passionate. She uses many interesting and engaging examples and stories to illustrate her points. At the same time the book is based on sound research foundation, which helps her to establish the book as an authoritative source for the intended audience.
In the preface to the book, the author writes about her decision to add one more tool in a larger toolbox that could help to build a population better prepared to address its information needs (p. xix) and I agree that this is a good decision having in mind the growing number of tools to manipulate information and more actors willing to take advantage of them.
Vilnius University, Lithuania
How to cite this review
Norvaišaitė O. (2022). Review of: Burkhardt, Joanna M. Media smart: Lessons, tips and strategies for librarians, classroom instructors and other information professionals Facet Publishing, 2022. Information Research, 27(3), review no. R743 [Retrieved from http://www.informationr.net/ir/reviews/revs743.html]
Information Research is published four times a year by the University of Borås, Allégatan 1, 501 90 Borås, Sweden.