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Chemistry of Art

This guide was created for Dr. Geeta Govindarajoo's Chemistry of Art class.

Fact Checking

Some links to reputable fact checking sites: "A a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics."

Politifact "is owned by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies. PolitiFact seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases, and their journalists avoid the public expression of political opinion and public involvement in the political process." has been in existence for 20 years, as one of the first fact checking websites. It evolved out of a website created by David Mikkelson about urban legends.

Checking Images

Reverse Image Searching

A quick an easy way to validate information is to research the images that accompany it. An out of context or faked/photo-shopped image will immediately indicate that the information could be misleading or false.  Reverse image searching is also useful in tracking where an image or story originated in order to better understand the information and intent. Use these sites to verify all images to determine they have not been faked or manipulated or taken out of context.

Fake Art and Fake News

In this course you will look at forgeries, or "fake art". You will also be evaluating articles related to the chemistry of art for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose (aka the CRAAP test). These are skills you can use every day when dealing with fake news.

What is Fake News? Fake news is not news you disagree with.

"Fake news" is "fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. Fake-news outlets, in turn, lack the news media's editorial norms and processes for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of information. Fake news overlaps with other information disorders, such as misinformation (false or misleading information) and disinformation (false information that is purposely spread to deceive people)." [David M. J. Lazer, et al., "The Science of Fake News," Science 09 Mar 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1094-1096.]. From Evaluating News Sources, Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA, under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

In other words, fake news is made up, and designed to look like real news, to achieve some hidden objective. It is easily spread quickly through social media, by those who don't stop to verify the facts.

Woman at a Window, Unknown

Embed from Getty Images

Woman at a Window, The National Gallery, London

This image was discovered to have been a fake, painted over to be more appealing to buyers at the time. Like fake news, it covers up the facts in order to "sell" something, such as a viewpoint that may be targeted to a particular audience.

The Art of Reading Laterally

We used to tell students to evaluate sources by looking at things such as the domain of a website, for example .org vs .com, but this is no longer useful because .org can be used by sites that are created to share misinformation. Instead, you should open new tabs to search for information about the organization and people who created the website, as well as about any topics that it discusses. This is called "lateral reading", because you are searching alongside your source of information.

The ART of Reading Laterally

Image from EGUSD Digital Citizenship


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