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USD Information Literacy Lessons: Page 17

The broad focus of these lessons is understanding sources of information, including examples that can help you learn how to access information sources at USD. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific element of information competency.

Internet Reliability

Most Internet users (81%) expect to find reliable health care information on the Internet.*  If they treat everything they find uncritically, misinformation on the Internet can be a matter of life and death.   

It's best to consult professionals for medical and legal advice.  If you look for such information online, make sure that the author of the web site has the necessary credentials to give you accurate information (a bona fide medical or law degree), and that that person is legally certified to dispense advice where you live (i.e., is licensed to practice in your state).

As with any other information, use your common sense.  Don't follow advice that you question; get a second opinion from a professional.  If something sounds odd or wrong, it probably is. (E.g., The Doctors' Medical Library at  states that injecting hydrogen peroxide can reduce cholesterol and generally serve an antibiotic function.  Injecting hydrogen peroxide is actually a very dangerous thing to do.) 

*Horrigan, John B. and Lee Rainie.  Counting on the Internet.  Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2002.  2. 


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