On Verifying the Accuracy of Information: Philosophical Perspectives

Library Trends, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 463-487, 2004

27 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2009

Date Written: February 18, 2003

Abstract

How can one verify the accuracy of recorded information (e.g., information found in books, newspapers, and on Web sites)? In this paper, I argue that work in the epistemology of testimony (especially that of philosophers David Hume and Alvin Goldman) can help with this important practical problem in library and information science. This work suggests that there are four important areas to consider when verifying the accuracy of information: (i) authority, (ii) independent corroboration, (iii) plausibility and support, and (iv) presentation. I show how philosophical research in these areas can improve how information professionals go about teaching people how to evaluate information. Finally, I discuss several further techniques that information professionals can and should use to make it easier for people to verify the accuracy of information.

Keywords: accuracy, information, testimony, epistemology, verifiability

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don, On Verifying the Accuracy of Information: Philosophical Perspectives (February 18, 2003). Library Trends, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 463-487, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1509153

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://philpeople.org/profiles/don-fallis

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