Librarians were among the first to join the call to arms and combat the onslaught of fake news that has permeated our political discussions for the last several months. Frankly, it seems hard for anyone to be on the other side of this issue. But is it?
Not long after the effort to stop fake news in its tracks, a group of librarians began to consider the long-term implications of eradicating an entire body of content from history. Thus began a concerted effort to preserve all the fake news that a vigilant group of librarians could gather up. Building on other open source applications to store and preserve data, software and uploading code for a DisInformation Repository is well underway. Mendacity 1.0 should be available on Github later this month. My attempts to download and use the beta version only redirected me to the Bing search engine homepage.
It’s also rumored that an ALA Round Table might also be in the works. Proponents of the FNRT want to make sure that the effort not only focuses on completely eliminating the dissemination of Fake News but also on preserving the content that slips through the cracks.
“Freedom to read means protecting even the most obvious fallacies,” said Martin Garnar, President of the Freedom to Read Foundation. “In a post-truth society,” continued Garnar, librarians have to stay vigilant in preserving the anti-intellectual content that got us to this point.”
“It’s got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of,” said Yonkers librarian, Christian Zabriskie. “Librarians have done some pretty awesome and crazy things in the past, but this one has to take the cake. I could not take part in it.”
So while many front-line librarians will continue the fight against the proliferation of internet falsehoods, now there’s a new library collections front to consider. It will be interesting to watch the untruth unfold.
When “Fake News” is ancient history, the world will need all the proof we gather that this phenomenon really happened. It’s up to librarians and archivists.