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Essential Skills for the Information Age Worker, Semester 2 2004

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Week 03: The World Wide Rumour, Urban Myths and Soft Journalism

Lecturer: Gavan McCarthy
Image of Week 03: The World Wide Rumour, Urban Myths and Soft Journalism
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Date: 11 Aug 2004 1pm
Location: Old Arts Theatre B
This will involve an introductory tour of World Wide Web exploring the means, methods and mechanisms by which unverifiable data and information is propagated.

Lecture Notes

Tutorial Exercises

Topics for the research papers will be discussed and finalised. Review questions and outcomes from lab exercise will be discussed.

Lab Exercise

Task - locate a Web "Urban Myth" site; choose a "likely" story; using Webraft post a discussion that describes the myth in about 100 words and (most important) cite the Web sources - not just in text but electronically; test some of the other students citations. What issues arise? Electronic citation is a critical skill for the digital worker but it is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Review Questions

  1. Name and discuss three communication technologies from before 1900.
  2. How would you start an urban myth on the Web?
  3. What is the small world effect? What is the Barry Jones phenomenon?
  4. What is the 'call to authority'? How can this be problematic? Can you think of a personal example?
  5. What are the key 'gullibility' factors of web information?
  6. What role does a URL play in establishing credibility?
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Prepared by: Gavan McCarthy
Created: 5 June 2000
Modified: 22 July 2004

Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre on AustehcWeb, 2000 - 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: tfac@austehc.unimelb.edu.au
Updated: 22 July 2004

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