Publications and Research and Socially-Driven Authority

Steven Ovadia, CUNY LaGuardia Community College

This article originally appeared in the journal Library Philosophy and Practice


For years, librarians have been able to distill the notion of authority, in its purest form, to two simple questions: Who said it? and Under whose auspices? Now, as more content migrates online, understanding authority is a more complex process. Social news sites, like allow these traditional authority structures to be bypassed, creating a new, socially-driven authority, based upon an author expertise that is not necessarily recognized by academia. In order for researchers, especially student researchers, to evaluate these sources, they must learn to construct their own authority.