Thursday, October 6, 2016

Googling Google: Search Engines as Market Actors in Library Instruction

I wrote a lesson plan for Nicole Pagowsky and Kelly McElroy's Critical Pedagogy for Libraries Handbook, Volume 2.

The two-volume set is available for purchase at the ALA store. If you don't mind waiting, both volumes will go open access at some point in 2017 (this is very cool!), and many chapters are already available via institutional repositories and self-archiving, among other means.

My chapter (pdf) focuses on thinking critically about Google's search engine and how librarians can help foster a sense of critical inquiry around searching.
Google searches return sexist, racist, and homophobic results, which both create and reinforce dominant narratives of white supremacy and heteronormativity. That is bad; faculty, students, and librarians alike should know about it and attempt to mitigate the deleterious effects of search results.  
Did that read like a tumblr post to you? Good, because I think libraries should be about social justice (they are not neutral, never have been, nor should they be), and I try to hit that x-axis of practicing what I preach, otherwise known as praxis.
If you're interested in the topic, I encourage you to read the work of Dr. Safiya Noble, who teaches at UCLA, and note that library discovery systems are not free of bias. Not by a longshot.

The lesson plan is CC - BY - SA, which means you can use it, make it better, and then share it. Please do all these things. Feedback welcome, and thanks much to the editors above (buy the books!), and to the hundreds of students and handful of librarians and library staff who helped me refine the lesson.

Elsewhere on this site in me sneaking things through peer review, my ACRL 2015 paper: Faculty Perceptions of a Library: Paneling for Assessment

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