Library & Information Science Faculty Scholarship

Title of Work

Definitions of Fake News in Library Guidelines: A Pilot Study

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date


City of Publication or Presentation

Boras, Sweden

Journal Title

Proceedings of iConference 2020

Conference Name


Conference Location

Boras, Sweden


Fake news has drawn special attention in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election. Librarians have played a proactive role in combating fake news in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, the term fake news is not well defined. This pilot study attempts to identify key characteristics of fake news by employing a content analysis of guidelines about fake news from 14 academic libraries. The findings show that the two elements of intention to mislead and falsity are explicitly presented in the definitions of fake news in the guidelines. Other elements such as partisan bias, click bait, and distorted context manifest in the definitions of only some guidelines. No guidelines present the element of the omission of important information in their definitions. This study suggests that guidelines must present their definitions of fake news so that they reflect the complexity of the current phenomenon.

Link to URL of accompanying or supplemental material

This document is currently not available here.