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Notes from the Underground City of Disinformation: A Conceptual Investigation

Natascha A. Karlova and Jin Ha Lee

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


Summary

Inaccurate information, in the field of library and information science, is often regarded as a problem that need to be corrected or simply understood as either misinformation or disinformation without further consideration. Misinformation and disinformation, however, may cause significant problems for users in online environments, where they are constantly exposed to an abundance of inaccurate and/or misleading information. This paper aims to establish conceptual groundwork for future empirical research by examining the relationships among information, misinformation, and disinformation. Our analysis extends to a discussion of cues to deception, as means for detecting misinformation and disinformation. We argue that misinformation and disinformation are related yet distinct sub-categories of information. Misinformation is a multifaceted concept, more complex than simply being inaccurate or incomplete, and disinformation does not always entail misinformation. We conclude our discussion by highlighting the significant roles of context and time in defining misinformation and disinformation.


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