Thanks, Google

A student pointed out to me that, if you ask Google “Who wrote the Pentateuch?” you get the answer, in big, bold letters, “Moses.” I decided to click the “feedback” button and indicate that this is incorrect. Here’s what I wrote as explanation for why I thought so: There has been extensive research on this [Read More...]

Too Old

A student sent me this e-mail recently: Dr. McGrath, Sorry about the multiple emails. I’m not sure if we went over this or not but I was wondering what your thoughts were on about how far back we should go when deciding which articles to use? I have all mine set, but one is from the [Read More...]

Do Your Own “Research”

Open Parachute shared these three images, and I thought I’d pass them along, given their relevance to discussions we have here. [Read more...]

Amelia Bedelia and the Sinister Buttocks

Wikipedia has been making headlines again. If you haven’t seen it yet, read the article about how someone as a student edited the Wikipedia entry about Amelia Bedelia as a prank, only to encounter it tweeted as fact years later. The second part of the title of this post comes from an article about the tendency [Read More...]

PALNI Prize

I recently had the privilege to be an invited panelist at a PALNI (Private Academic Library Network of Indiana) strategic planning meeting. For post-dinner entertainment, they had a video contest, with the various libraries in the network entering submissions. The dean of the Butler University libraries, Julie Miller, submitted my “Viva La Library” video as our [Read More...]

Spotting Bad Science and Scholarship

I became aware of this infographic a while back, and wanted to comment on it, both in relation to science and also in terms of how it relates to other fields.   Some of the details are relevant only to the natural sciences – there is no way to double blind test a historical reconstruction. [Read More...]

Critical Thinking

My colleague Elizabeth Mix gave me the idea for this song, suggesting that a song on one of our core curriculum student learning outcomes, “Critical Thinking,” would work to the tune of “Eleanor Rigby.” Let me know what you think. The lyrics are in the video above (click on the image if it does not [Read More...]

Fact-Checking Wisdom

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Wise and Foolish Questions

Commenter Hydroxonium mentioned the first quotation. In looking for it, I found the second one as well. Both seemed worth sharing. [Read more...]

Easter War on Information Literacy

It is always particularly disappointing when those who classify themselves as freethinkers and skeptics share nonsense. This image is making the rounds again in precisely those circles: Candida Moss has a great article on what is problematic both with such claims about Easter being borrowed/stolen in this way, and with the reverse, namely Christian claims [Read More...]

Saddest Search of the Internet Age

One of the reasons I focus so much attention on information literacy skills, and require students to not merely say “I found it on JSTOR,” is that it is important to know how to cope without resources that we normally rely on. The best example of this in our time is relying on Googling for [Read More...]


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