Is Seeing Believing? Visual Literacy and Web Evaluation


This poster will address the application of Web evaluation techniques to images on the Web. Since information became widely available on the Web, librarians have recognized the need to teach students critical evaluation skills. As we move from “a world of literacy to a world of visuality” (Natharius 2004) the need to evaluate images as well as text becomes imperative. Because images, even more than text, can be used to manipulate the viewer, we must prepare students to become “constructive critics of visual information” (Metros & Woolsey 2006).

The ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education state that as part of the ability to critically evaluate information and its sources, the information literate student “recognizes prejudice, deception, or manipulation.” Because images are often an integral part of Web resources, the ability to decode images plays a crucial role in Web evaluation.

The poster will discuss Web-based images that fall into several categories: political, artistic expression, advertising, and hoaxes. Each category will include examples as well as discussion questions and suggestions for classroom activities.

Metros, S.E. & Woolsey, K. (2006, May/June). Visual literacy: An institutional imperative. EDUCASE Review, 80-81.

Natharius, D. (2004). The more we know, the more we see: The role of visuality in media literacy. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(2), 238-247.

Learning Outcomes:

  • A deeper understanding of the importance of teaching students to critically evaluate Web-based images

  • Access to a set of tools and techniques for teaching critical evaluation of Web-based images

  • Experience in examining the ways in which Web-based images are used to manipulate, persuade, and deceive viewers
  • Presenter:

    Dawn Amsberry
    Reference & Instruction Librarian
    Pennsylvania State University
    Gateway Library/Instructional Programs




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