Visualizing “Fake News”: Exploring Information Literacy Through Graphic Design

This past fall, librarians here at Temple worked with a professor in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s Graphic & Interactive Design (GAID) department to support students in an introductory graphic design course.

At the beginning of the semester, Professor Jenny Kowalski assigned students in GAD 2001 a project to design posters on the theme of information literacy, using the Libraries’ “Fake News,” Misinformation, and Disinformation Research Guide as a resource. Jill Luedke, art and architecture librarian, and Kristina De Voe, English and communication librarian, also visited the class virtually to discuss the role of information literacy in an era of mis- and disinformation as students were introduced to the project. 

The students in this course created some really fantastic posters exploring this assigned theme. Below, we present a sampling of their works. You’ll also read—in the students’ own words—about their poster concepts as well as their processes, inspirations, and any challenges they encountered. 

A project like this is a great example of instructor/librarian assignment collaborations that often take place throughout the academic year. It’s also an engaging way to help spark important conversations around mis- and disinformation, especially in our current context. The Libraries is planning to further highlight these images—via displays in the Charles Library and integration in learning materials—in order to help foster critical reflection and discussion.


Kristin Burnett

Concept: So far for each of my two poster designs, I have an individual concept. My first poster talks about being aware of our filter bubbles when it comes to accessing and internalizing our own information, and my second poster’s concept is more abstract by communicating the message that the authenticity/truth in the information we read can be skewed and manipulated, especially when passed along through many sources. 

Process: When working on these posters, the beginning of my process was reading many articles on topics like misinformation and going through visual examples that explore ideas surrounding information literacy. My main inspiration included a variety of different elements like graphic styles, illustrations, and compositions, which were all collected in mood boards and ended up being very helpful tools when bringing my ideas into Illustrator. One problem I faced in the midst of this process was deciding which sketches/concepts I needed to choose; as I worked on one poster concept, I usually would have a new idea for another concept and later on needed to narrow them down objectively. The main solution to this problem was getting feedback from others.


Marcus Frye-Boyd 

Concept: The concept of my poster stands behind informing others that when we use vertical reading/research techniques we limit and distort full truth. So I used photoshop digital distortion techniques to my text to show this visually. [Note from the Libraries: for more on vertical vs lateral reading, check out the News Literacy Project or watch this video.]

Process: So I had quite a few inspirations for my digital distortion and aesthetically I wanted to make a cooler version of those iconic the more you know posters but my biggest inspiration was by a designer named Mishko who uses the technique a lot. The liquify distortion technique is actually a little hard and slightly random in results so I had to commit early. My first technique looked a little corny and had spacing issues so ended having to start from scratch. Also maintaining different versions before and after using a tool is important because photoshop is very destructive. But the biggest challenge to overcome was the slowness it forced into my computer when using the recommended mixer brush. At one point I didn’t think I’d be able to execute at all and had no control of the marks I made on the color distortion. I found out though if I edit the spacing on the brush it would move faster. Then voila I was in business to continue what I set out to do. 


Rachael Hollar

Concept: My poster is trying to approach the idea of information literacy and the problems with “fake news” and social media as a whole in how it spreads manipulated content. I am doing this by using a layout and style inspired by vintage horror movies.

Process: My inspiration is vintage horror movie posters, and I am using Procreate for the whole thing. I had some initial problems with layout and how I wanted to personify the “manipulated content monster,” but I solved those by getting feedback from my classmates. 


Audrey Lee 

Concept: I wanted to create a poster that emphasized the fact that fake news is a national threat, and that other countries (particularly Russia) are using it to purposefully divide and weaken our country. The colors and negative space are meant to create a sense of alarm and urgency, while the font and texture emulate Russian activist art from the early 20th century. 

Process: I took a lot of inspiration from editorial illustrators like Jon Krause and Aad Goudappel, who use simple shapes, negative space and visual metaphors to convey clear political messages. I also took some inspiration from comics like Spy vs. Spy, which use visual contrasts and reconnaissance themes. I started in pencil for the sketches and thumbnails, created the rough in Illustrator, and added texture in Photoshop. I had a few issues with the concept—the negative space wasn’t totally clear at first, nor was the message. After adding the bold colors and the references to Russian design, the poster became conceptually clearer.


And check out the rest of the students’ work for this class:

Welcome back: Your spring 2021 guide to the Libraries

As we enter another semester where many of us remain apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us here at the Libraries want to help you succeed amid these challenging circumstances. We are committed to providing you with important resources, materials, opportunities, and services, no matter where you are.  Check out our round up below.

If you plan to visit us in person, we encourage you to check our website for the latest information on access and services during COVID-19

Photo of physically distanced seating in Charles Library

Third floor open study area in Charles Library, photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg, Temple University

One-on-one research help

Librarians are here to offer personalized assistance as you work on your research papers and projects. No matter what you are studying or what major you pursue, we have a librarian who specializes in your field

Getting in touch with your librarian is easy: you can chat, email, or schedule a virtual appointment. For more ways to get in touch, visit our Contact Us page. 

New spring 2021—library chat goes 24/7! No matter when you’re working, we will be here to answer your questions. library.temple.edu/chat

Access to collections

We provide access to a broad range of physical and online materials—from books, databases, and journals to ebooks, archival materials, and movies—all searchable through our website: library.temple.edu.

If you are looking for fully online materials, we have highlighted those on our website.  

Recognition for your research

We will soon begin accepting applications for the Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards, in which we recognize the best scholarly and creative work produced by Temple undergrads. Did we mention there are cash prizes?!

Online learning opportunities

The Libraries are more than just a place for books! We host specialized online learning opportunities, such as workshops on everything from telling stories with data to using citation managers to getting started with 3D printing. We have a full slate of workshops scheduled for the spring, and we hope you’ll join us. 

And check out our Beyond the Page public programming series. This semester’s theme is Made in North Philly, and we’ll be offering a variety of virtual readings, concerts, conversations, and more. 

As always, our events and workshops are free and open to all.


Here are a few more tips to help you start the new year off right:

Perspectives on substance use disorder: An exercise in empathy

Guest post by Lauri Fennell, public health and social sciences librarian, and Vicky Nucci, alcohol and drug prevention coordinator at the Wellness Resource Center

Self-reflection and assessing old patterns is common with the start of a new year. Often the New Year is brought in with drinking. This is a tradition that can bring about a lot of feelings, and we may not know how it affects our campus community. Building empathy and expanding our perspectives will help create safe and healthy spaces for all. This post is a collaboration between the Wellness Resource Center and Temple University Libraries.

Abstact image of lights on Temple's campus

photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg, Temple University

The importance of sharing perspectives

In a world where substance use has been normalized and oftentimes glorified, it’s important to understand all sides of this issue. 2020 was a challenging year and connecting with each other continues to be important. Students have had to navigate new models of participating in course instruction and connecting with one another in virtual spaces. Isolation has had its effects on all students but particularly on our students in recovery. If you or someone you know are affected by substance use disorder (SUD) and would like to seek options, check out this article from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


Explore

Temple University Libraries has a large collection of videos and books (including ebooks). Search all Books and Media with your subject term, then limit by subject—e.g., fiction, memoir, etc. The Free Library of Philadelphia is another place to discover books on addiction and recovery.

Below you’ll find a curated list of media that is centered around folks’ experiences with substance use disorder. A few in the recommended list may be available as an ebook or audiobook too.

Memoirs/Biographies

Memoirs and biographies share personal stories, from the individual’s struggle with substance use disorder to the effects on family members. As with any reading, some will love a title while others don’t. 

Educational Texts

To learn more about substance use disorder, below are a couple of texts:


A space for reflection

Stress is often met with “I need a drink” or “you deserve a drink.” The language we use with phrases like happy hour, BYOB, and others, assumes that everyone wants to drink. The next time you plan a gathering or talk about how to handle stress, think about the implications our words can have on folks who live sober lifestyles or are in recovery.

 

This winter break, enjoy a good book

As winter break draws near, many of us are looking forward to relaxing as we get ready for the new year. What better way to unwind than to curl up with a good book? We polled Temple Libraries staff members for the books they recommend you check out this winter:


Book cover for The Blind AssassinI recommend The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. You might know Atwood from The Handmaid’s Tale, but The Blind Assassin is by far my favorite of her novels. It’s a story within a story within a story. There might even be another story in there. It’s genre-bending, hard to classify, and the more I write about it, the more I think I’m due for a re-read.
—Beckie Dashiell, Editor, Library Outreach and Communications

 

Book cover for The Vanishing Half

I recently read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and thought it was such a page-turner. I always love a novel that pulls you into its world so much that you are still thinking about it even while you are not actively reading, and The Vanishing Half did that for me.
—Geneva Heffernan, Lead Administrative Specialist, Library Outreach and Communications
(Bonus: This ebook is available through the Libraries.)

 

Book cover for Useful Phrases for ImmigrantsI would recommend Useful Phrases for Immigrants, a short story collection by May-lee Chai. Temple University Press published her memoir, Hapa Girl, back in 2007 and I’ve followed her writing ever since. I particularly love short stories so I devoured this collection. Chai’s writing is so precise and emotional. She freights so much meaning and reveals telling details about her characters, sometimes in a single sentence. And I love that the collection provides so many vivid characters.
—Gary Kramer, Publicity Manager, Temple University Press

 

Book cover for Braiding SweetgrassBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer—A collection of essays on how botany and the teachings of Native America are connected. I particularly loved the traditional story of the three sisters (corn, squash, beans) and how that story is reflected in the garden (each helps the other grow) as well as supporting the body nutritionally. Kimmerer teaches at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and is also a member of the Potawatomi tribe. 
—Nancy Turner, Associate Director for Organizational Research and Strategy Alignment
(Bonus: Another ebook that’s available through the Libraries.)

 

Book cover for Such a Fun AgeI picked up Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid because another library staff member was reading it, and then couldn’t put it down. The novel takes place in Philly and the protagonist is a Temple alum, so reading it felt like a little local scavenger hunt. It also provides a really nuanced depiction of race, class, and privilege, and manages to do so with a lightness that still makes it—forgive me—such a fun read. 
Sara Wilson, Assistant Director, Outreach and Communications
(Bonus: This ebook is available too!)

 

Book Cover for the 7th Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This book quickly became possibly one of the best books I have ever read. I describe it as a mix of Agatha Christie and Groundhog Day. This book is full of twists and turns and I literally couldn’t put it down! Highly recommend if you like mystery, historical fiction, a twist of sci-fi, intrigue, and fast paced writing.
—Carly Hustedt, Bibliographic Assistant II, Access Services

 

Book cover for Tarka the OtterTarka the Otter by Henry Williamson. A wonderful book which is little known in this country: “one of the defining masterpieces of modern nature writing…that seeks to transcend the boundaries between the human and the animal worlds.” —New York Review Books (NYRB)
—Gregory McKinney, Librarian

 

Reading for Social Change: What We Can Do for World AIDS Day and Beyond

Guest post by Brittany Robinson, wellness education program coordinator with the Wellness Resource Center 

December 1st is World AIDS Day—a time to show support for those whose lives are impacted by HIV/AIDS and to remember those who have died from an HIV/AIDS-related illness. World AIDS Day has been recognized and helped raise awareness for 32 years. The 2020 theme is “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility,” which encourages us to  unite worldwide to reduce new cases of HIV, end stigma, and make the world a better place for folks living with HIV. This post is a collaboration between the Wellness Resource Center and Temple University Libraries.

Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and about 14% are unaware of their status. Living with HIV can be challenging due to isolation and stigmatization, but this does not have to be the reality. We have the power to work individually and collectively to create change. Using kind person-first language, becoming informed about the realities of HIV, and addressing misconceptions can reduce experiences of shame and isolation. One way we can begin doing the work of educating ourselves and reducing stigma is by reading accounts that accurately portray the experiences of folks living with HIV/AIDS. 

How Does Reading Help? 

Reading provides us the freedom and space to explore perspectives and experiences that are different from our own. Research shows that reading can improve empathy and perspective-taking. 

Here are some suggested titles, available through Temple Libraries

Positive by Tom Bouden

Bouden’s graphic novel tells the story of a young woman, Sarah, who discovers that she is HIV positive. Readers are taken on a journey as Sarah learns to navigate taking medication, responses from friends, and stigma. This story focuses on how life with HIV can be and often is filled with love and joy. 

Vital Signs: Essential AIDS Fiction by Richard Canning 

Canning has organized a collection of powerful short stories that speak to the struggle, bravery, and resilience of folks living with HIV and AIDS. 

Available Resources 

Temple’s Tuttleman Counseling Services has specially-trained therapists and support groups for Temple University students. 

Temple’s Wellness Resource Center has workshops and resources centered around healthy sexuality, stigma reduction, and social change. 

Philadelphia FIGHT provides inclusive and patient centered comprehensive primary care, and HIV primary care, research, education, and advocacy to folks living with HIV and those who are susceptible. 

AIDS United is a national organization with a mission of ending HIV in the United States. They offer blog posts, free webinars, and other resources for folks interested in improving the state of HIV nationally. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a wealth of information to help folks understand the basics of HIV, prevention methods, living fully with HIV, stigma reduction, and more. 

Reading for Social Change: #1Thing We Can Do For A Safer Tomorrow

Guest post by Liz Zadnik, associate director of the Wellness Resource Center

* Take Care While Reading: Mention of intimate partner abuse *

October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month—a time to honor individuals and families who have experienced abuse, as well as for communities to join together in efforts to create positive change. The 2020 theme is #1Thing, as in one action we can each take to move us toward a world free of interpersonal violence. Today’s post is a collaboration between the Wellness Resource Center and Temple University Libraries.

Image of woman running in front text reading #1Thing, Awareness + Action = Social Change

While millions of Americans experience some form of intimate partner violence during their lifetime, it is often something they endure alone. Making something visible—speaking these truths—can minimize the shame and isolation so many may experience. One way we can start this collective conversation is by reading the accounts of folks brave and generous enough to share their lives with us.

How does reading help us in our collective efforts to create a safer world? 

Emerging research has found reading literary fiction can help readers with empathy and compassion. The skills of empathy—perspective-taking, staying out of judgement, identifying emotions, and then communicating recognition of those emotions—are strengthened as we bear witness to the perceptions, thought processes, and worldviews of characters.

Here are some suggested titles, all available through Temple Libraries:

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Machado’s memoir of her experience with an abusive partner weaves together themes of sizeism, heterosexism, and cultural understandings of love and worthiness. Incredibly candid, Machado approaches a difficult subject with wit and a combination of narrative tropes—including classic horror—to create something entirely unique.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

A classic text that won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction, The Color Purple shares the stories of women connected through their pain, growth, and bravery. The powerful novel offers a journey that is inspiring and life-affirming.

Milk and Honey and The Sun And Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur 

Kaur’s poetry seeks to raise awareness of domestic and family violence and how social norms contribute to victim-blaming, shame, and pain. Unflinching and honest, each offering evokes a range of emotions and asks the reader to open their heart to something new. 

Resources Available

Temple’s Tuttleman Counseling Services has specially-trained therapists and support groups for Temple University students who have experienced different forms of interpersonal violence.  

Philadelphia’s Domestic Violence Hotline connects folks with multiple organizations in the area for crisis intervention, safety planning, resources, and referrals. All conversations are free, confidential and anonymous: 1-866-723-3014

The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers support to anyone in the United States and also has a chat feature available any time, 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-799-7233.

 

A welcome interruption: Winners read and inter-university contest announcement

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Temple University Libraries celebrated the winners of our second-ever creative writing contest, which explored the theme of “Interruption.” The contest winners and select finalists joined us virtually from around the city, region, and even the world to read their winning pieces via Zoom.

The event featured readings by:

The contest’s overall juried winner, Kristen Loughlin, was unable to join us for the live event, but you can view a video of her reading her winning short story, Bar Lines, on the Libraries’ YouTube page.

And in case you missed the reading, you can check it out at any time on our website.  

A new writing contest opportunity for Temple students

As we wrap up our own contest, we are excited to announce Temple Libraries’ participation in Short Édition’s first-ever inter-university contest. (Short Édition is the French publishing house who we partner with for our contests and who makes the short story dispenser we have in Charles Library).

The Long Story Short Award writing contest is open to all students at university partners (that’s us!), and submissions will be accepted from October 5 to November 19. 

Submissions are limited to 7,500 characters (not words, so take note!). There are cash prizes, and select submissions will be published across 300 Short Édition short story dispensers worldwide.

Learn more at the contest website, and good luck! We hope to see an Owl take the top prize!

Your fall 2020 guide to Temple University Libraries

Photo outside of Charles Library, with people wearing masks and Owl statue

Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

While things look a little different at Temple this fall, the Libraries are committed to providing you with important resources, materials, and services as you embark on a new semester. 

If you plan to visit us in person, we encourage you to check our website for the latest information on what to expect when visiting our library locations. And whether you are on campus or off, we are here for you with:

One-on-one research help

Librarians are here to offer personalized assistance as you work on your research papers and projects. No matter what you are studying or what major you pursue, we have a librarian who specializes in your field

Getting in touch with your librarian is easy: you can chat, email, or schedule a virtual appointment. For more ways to get in touch, visit our Contact Us page. 

Access to collections

We provide access to a broad range of physical and online materials—from books, databases, and journals to ebooks, archival materials, and movies—all searchable through our website: library.temple.edu.

If you are looking for fully online materials, we have highlighted those on our website.  

Online learning opportunities

The Libraries are more than just a place for books! We host specialized online learning opportunities, such as workshops on everything from writing a winning conference abstract to copyright basics to 3D printing. We have a full slate of workshops scheduled for the fall around the theme of change and action, and we hope you’ll join us. 

And check out our Beyond the Page public programming series, which is going virtual this semester with a variety of readings, concerts, conversations, and more. 

As always, our events and workshops are free and open to all.


Here are a few more tips to help you start the new school year off right:

Photo of tables and chairs  in Charles Library spaced to promote physical distancing

Physically distanced study space on the third floor of Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

Alone in Charles Library: Makerspace Manager Takes Part in University-Wide Effort to Make PPE

About nine months ago, the new Charles Library opened on Temple Main Campus. This forward-thinking academic library in the heart of campus was a cause for much celebration, and it quickly became an integral hub for gathering and collaborating, study and research, creating and exploring. 

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In mid-March, Temple made the decision to move all courses online and closed most university buildings. That included our brand new Charles Library.

photo of the empty Charles Library atrium

The empty Charles Library atrium

Charles Library is empty now of people, save for one: Makerspace Manager David Ross. In the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio on the third floor of Charles Library, David is putting the 3D printers, laser cutters, and other equipment in our production-oriented facility to work.

David is part of a university-wide task force comprised of Temple faculty, staff, and students that assembled to answer the question: what can we do to help address the critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals?

Named the Temple University COVID-19 Assistance Team (TUCAT), this cross-disciplinary effort began in March and is still ongoing. The team spans across the university, from the College of Engineering and College of Science and Technology to Tyler School of Art and Architecture to Temple Libraries, Temple Health, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The team members are practicing social distancing and working separately to avoid any further spread. 

So what’s it like to be in Charles Library alone? David says it’s a bit lonely, though there are a few perks, including:


  • My own bathrooms (PLURAL)
  • Listening to Music or NPR super loud in a library!
  • Being asked to turn on computers, or get items for staff…So I get to walk through the office spaces and see coworkers’ desk personalities. Some of these are really fun— one person has an amazing LEGO set, a few have forests growing across their desks 
  • I have the pick of the litter for reading material and games and such—makes for nice breaks
  • I dance! I bet the security guards watching the video love seeing me act a fool
David demonstrating a completed face shield

David demonstrating a completed face shield

David’s primary focus in the Makerspace is creating face shields. In other spaces across campus, team members (who may or may not also be dancing while they work) are making other components, as well as assembling, cleaning, and packing the PPE for delivery. The team also donated a number of iPads and helped develop a system to remotely run the iPads in order to help doctors maintain social distancing.

While we aren’t the only organization employing our Makerspace to make PPE, the Temple task force made the early decision to take a faster and safer approach. The team determined that 3D printing the face shields themselves wasn’t feasible on a mass scale, because the process can be expensive, slow, and prone to error. 

Instead, David worked closely with Professor Tonia Hsieh from the Department of Biology and came up with the idea to use 3D printers to create molds, from which many face shields could then be quickly cast. What’s more, the material used for casting—a flexible resin—can be cleaned and reused, making it ideal for use in hospitals.

Photo of molds

Face shield molds

 

David pours material in shield molds

David pours material in shield molds

The Temple team has shared their unique process, including designs and molds, with universities and partners across Philadelphia and even Delaware, which according to David, turned the project “from a Temple effort to a Philadelphia effort.” The team has also created a how-to guide so that “this can grow from a Philly effort to an American effort to even a global effort,” David notes.

In reflecting on the experience, David says that “one of the best parts of this for me was being allowed to use new types of casting materials and learning new methods for making this process efficient.” He also notes Charles Library’s role as being a natural place for facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and that “without cross-disciplinary work, the project would never have happened.”  

Extra Seating in Charles Library for Finals

We know that preparing for final exams and papers is stressful enough without having to worry about where to study. Head on over to Charles Library, which is open 24/7 starting December 5th at 8 a.m. For final exams, we’re also opening up more study spots and seating options.

Extra seating on the third floor of Charles

Extra seating on the third floor of Charles, photo by Geneva Heffernan

Check out the following rooms, which you are welcome to use any time they’re not booked (schedules are posted outside each room):

  • 113
  • 202
  • 210 (complete with desktop computers!)
  • 381
  • 401

New bean bag chairs by the BookBot viewing window

New bean bag chairs by the BookBot viewing window, photo by Geneva Heffernan

We’re also setting up extra seats and tables in the first floor event space and throughout the building. And be on the lookout for the comfiest new option around—bean bag chairs! 

From all of us here at the Library, good luck with finals.