On verifying the accuracy of information: Philosophical perspectives

Don Fallis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


How can one verify the accuracy of recorded information (e.g., information found in books, newspapers, and on Web sites)? In this paper, I argue that work in the epistemology of testimony (especially that of philosophers David Hume and Alvin Goldman) can help with this important practical problem in library and information science. This work suggests that there are four important areas to consider when verifying the accuracy of information: (i) authority, (ii) independent corroboration, (iii) plausibility and support, and (iv) presentation. I show how philosophical research in these areas can improve how information professionals go about teaching people how to evaluate information. Finally, I discuss several further techniques that information professionals can and should use to make it easier for people to verify the accuracy of information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-487
Number of pages25
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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