For much of this year, COVID-19 has created a favorable environment for disseminating information about the coronavirus, not all of which has been accurate. The spreading of false information about the virus and the pandemic has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to create the portmanteau term “infodemic” (derived from “information” and “epidemic”) to refer to the rapid, large-scale dissemination of all kinds of health information and misinformation through a variety of media and information channels. The term is apt, because this mode of global information dissemination, which results in an overabundance of information, some of it accurate and some not, resembles the way a disease can spread across a large region.
In this context, Naseej Academy and Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, in the United States, organized a two-hour webinar entitled “Infodemic, Info-Vaccine and Libraries during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The webinar was held on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, from 7:00 to 09:00 p.m., Makkah time. The discussions focused on a key and controversial question: How can the library and information field respond to a pandemic such as COVID-19? For their part, the webinar moderators presented information, views and visions in answer to this critical question and in response to the multitude of queries raised by the participants.
The webinar experience was enriched by the diverse backgrounds and experience of the moderators, who motivated the audience to ask pertinent questions and to discuss the topic in depth. This interaction, in turn, made the webinar a highly effective knowledge forum on the topic. Participants were updated on the COVID-19-related “infodemic”, discussed the need for an information vaccine, and described the pandemic’s significance for libraries.
The webinar was judged a remarkable success, attracting a sizable attendance of enthusiastic participants from 49 countries. Participants included management and staff from various types of libraries and information centers, as well as library and information science students, researchers and educators, all of whom obtained useful information on the proper way to handle the “infodemic”, which has seen massive waves of information and misinformation disseminated through various social media and information channels.
The webinar was moderated by Prof. Kendra S. Albright, Prof. Clara M. Chu and Prof. Bharat Mehra.
About Prof. Kendra S. Albright
- Goodyear Endowed Professor in Knowledge Management, School of Information, Kent State University.
- Editor-in-Chief for Libri, the international journal of libraries and information studies.
- Consultant to numerous corporations and government agencies.
About Prof. Clara M. Chu
- Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
- 2019–20 President of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).
- Co-developing an institute on artificial intelligence and libraries.
About Prof. Bharat Mehra
- Professor, School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alabama.
- Leader in diversity and social justice in library and information science (LIS).
- Specialist in community informatics, or the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enable and empower minority and underserved populations.
To watch the recorded webinar:
Naseej Academy is a not-for-profit initiative from Naseej (www.naseej.com), created to support and develop knowledge and information professionals, and the knowledge community in the Arab world, by offering a wide range of programs, courses, workshops in cooperation with renowned local, regional and international organizations.
Naseej Academy and Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, in the United States, organized a two-hour webinar entitled “Infodemic, Info-Vaccine and Libraries during the COVID-19 Pandemic”.