CIC Information Fluency Workshop

I am currently in Baltimore with some colleagues, at a workshop focused on information fluency in the disciplines of religion, philosophy, and the history of ideas. It started yesterday, and has already offered a lot of fascinating perspectives from faculty and librarians, including practical examples and specific online tools that can be used for teaching [Read More...]

Quote for the Start of Semester

The quote from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, comes from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation.” The same can be said of the dictionary – I find it hard to believe that I get students starting essays with “Webster’s Dictionary defines…” – or worse still, [Read More...]

Viva La Library Remix

I feel quite honored – my parody of “Viva La Vida,” “Viva La Library (The Information Literacy Song),” has been covered by the librarians at Ivy Tech Community College. I think they did a great job, and needless to say the video itself is much more impressive than my still slides with the words. They made a [Read More...]

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...]


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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