Reading #3–Sara Franks Article

Sara Franks’ article on interdisciplinary study and critical thinking regarding sources of information was quite thought-provoking, given it’s focus on how to impart the latter on students during library instruction sessions. The author cites postmodern ideas, driven by Lyotard, that the grand narratives traditionally taught in academia are insufficient in representing the course of human history. I agree with this notion–think about how we think of periods of time within countries. We think of “Nazis” as every single German who lived in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. We think of North Koreans as crazy, as brainwashed sociopaths. Imagine the people of those countries, talking about Americans as a homogeneous people. My point is, we generalize to move quickly through material, but to me this seems insufficient and incorrect.

As for library instruction, I agree that we should teach students to question or sources, their motives, and their funding and organizations. We should not teach them that popular sources are all bad and academic sources are all good. Ideally, students should question all sources, should question motives, should question the process through which academic articles are produced.

The reality is, we have limited time, and too many lessons to impart. A theoretical discussion about academic sources and how many are produced through a formula and not through genius could be better suited for an advanced library instruction class, but maybe not for an introductory one. In short, these sorts of lessons are important, but I am skeptical about how well one might move through this sort of material in a short session.

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