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Information as the currency of Democracy

Information as the currency of Democracy

Thomas Jefferson, a Founder of modern American Democracy, has had a quotation attributed to him: Information is the currency of Democracy. This attribution is central to the debates our society is having about privacy and what is true or not true in our news and social media. It is an issue librarians have been discussing for a number of years - the authenticity of information sources and what constitutes authoritative information. Librarians and publishers have long cooperated on the release of content in books and journals after robust peer review and editorial processes. The nature of what a 'publisher' is has broadened sharply recently to include social media, blogs and self-created web sites. The impact of this new media was apparent in American politics and elections of late, where much disinformation was absorbed into the mainstream from which people form their views. In these ways, information has been poisonous to the sacred tenets of democracy where truth is so important and central to inform debate and decisions.

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