Friday, November 30, 2018

The Era of Spin: Fake News, False Headlines and Deliberate Misinformation

24/7 Feed Updates

In today’s modern era, we are constantly bombarded with news and information. With nonstop updates and instant access, it is possible to consume media around-the-clock. The Pew Research Center recently found that people under 50 years-old, consume half of their news online. And for for those under 30, online news is twice as popular as TV news (Nagler 1).

We scroll our social media stream, browse the Internet, watch television, listen to the radio, read the newspaper and talk with friends and family. Whatever the source, the news stream is a steady torrent.

While some of this information is well-researched, fair and factual, there are numerous news stories that are blatantly false.
Enter: Fake News.
In the past couple of years, fake news has become a widespread buzzword in the American lexicon. But what exactly is fake news?

#PizzaGate, Pope Francis Endorses Donald Trump

Fake news is fabricated information that mimics news media content in form, but not in process or intent. Fake news outlets lack editorial norms and processes that ensure accuracy and credibility of information ("Fake News, Alternative Facts and Misinformation"). Said simply, fake news is information that is untrue and cannot be verified.

At first blush, these stories can seem accurate, but actually contain fictitious and sometimes deliberately sinister information.

With the proliferation of clickbait headlines, people sometimes re-share content in their social media feeds before they evaluate it, verify it or even read it. This creates a viral typhoon of misinformation and distorted facts, which can lead to serious real-world consequences.

Before you share. First verify. Pause and reflect.

Don’t Be Duped. Consume Wisely.

It is more important than ever to critically evaluate news (and all information) for its reliability and truth. Be skeptical of the information that you come into contact with. Question. Have doubts. Independently verify a source. And form your own opinions.

Ask yourself: Who wrote this and why? Search the author’s name. Is this person an expert on the topic? Is the information trustworthy and factual? Can you find this same news in multiple places?

Analyze a source from multiple perspectives. What explicit and implicit biases exist in the article? What is the author’s intent? Do they cite their sources?

Also, be aware of your own partialities and blind spots. Simply put, people are more likely to accept information that confirms their beliefs and dismiss information that does not. This behavior is known as confirmation bias.

But perhaps most importantly, read widely and read often. Read from multiple sources and read multiple points of view. Read from sources that differ from your own opinions.

Don’t just blindly accept the first results that pop onto your screen. Or mindlessly accept what you are told. Be persistent in your reserach and sift deeper.

Informed Citizenry is a Cornerstone of Democracy

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" ("America's Founding Documents--The Bill of Rights: A Transcription").
It is a civic duty to act as an informed citizen and as a protector of rational scholarship. In the 21st Century, media literacy is an essential life skill that enables you to do so.
Be wary of: the suppression of contradictory views, appeals to prejudices, personal attacks, excessive claims of certainty and emotional appeals.
It is imperative to protect objective realities, accurate facts and balanced viewpoints.

ACC Libraries and Fake News

ACC has a vast collection of reliable and credible resources available to students, staff and faculty (A-Z List of All Databases, eBooks, books, Information Literacy sessions and more). Stop by an ACC library today and speak with a faculty librarian or use our 24/7 chat feature.

Also, to find out more about Fake News, visit our Fake News Research Guide.


Works Cited

"America's Founding Documents--The Bill of Rights: A Transcription." National Archives, 

"Fake News, Alternative Facts and Misinformation: Learning to Critically Evaluate Media Sources." Cornell University Library, 2018,

Nagler, Christina."4 Tips for Spotting a Fake News Story." Harvard Summer School, 2018,

Monday, November 26, 2018

Ferguson's Career Guidance Center

Explore Industries and Careers

Choosing a career is a challenging decision. Many different professions can suit your skills, interests, and goals. Here you can learn about more than 140 different industries and careers fields and thousands of professions to find the right one for you.

Popular Industries
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Computer Software
  • Government
  • Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
  • Travel and Leisure
Popular Careers
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Elementary School Teachers
  • Home Health Care Aides
  • Lawyers and Judges
  • Registered Nurses

Plan Your Education

Planning for college or another educational path can be a complex process. Advice and resources in this section will help you get organized, find your best options, identify your goals, and locate the schools that fit you best.

  • College Planning Timeline
  • Choosing a College
  • Choosing a College Major
  • Applying for Student Loans
  • Work-Study Programs
  • Financial Aid Directories
And more...

Launch Your Career

Hard work and job skills alone don't guarantee career success. Employers also look for professional appearance, good organization, time management, and many other basic skills of the modern workplace, which you can practice and perfect with the advice here.

Career Skills
  • Why You Need a Resume
  • Achieving Professional Excellence
  • Cover Letters: Common Mistakes
  • Researching Career Options
  • Preparing for the Interview
Apprenticeships and Internships
  • History of Apprenticeships
  • Applying and Interviewing for an Apprenticeship
  • Locating an Internship
  • Internships and Lifelong Job Skills
  • Government Internships
Career Interest Assessment

Discover the occupations and industries that best match your personal interests.

Monday, November 12, 2018

November is National Novel Writing Month!

Photograph of open book with title floating above.

Working on your writing skills? ACC Libraries have resources available to assist you, whether you are completing an essay or have larger publishing aspirations.

Facts on File Writer’s Reference Center is a database devoted to writing.

Grammar and punctuation, research basics, choosing a topic, types of documents, adding style to your writing, and other fundamentals of writing are at your fingertips.

Locate this database and more on the library’s website under A-Z List of Databases.

Additional resources available from your ACC Libraries:
book cover for Ticket to Write: Writing College Essays by Susan Thurman
Available from your ACC Library:
Ticket to Write: Writing College Essays by Susan Thurman
Book cover for Fast Fiction by Denise Jaden
Available from your ACC Library:
Fast Fiction: A guide to outlining and writing a first-draft novel in 30 days
by Denise Jaden 
book cover for No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
Available from your ACC Library:
No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing  Novel in 30 Days
by Chris Baty

Ready to write a novel? NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit organization, is a fun way to challenge yourself while collaborating with other aspiring novelists! 
With a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, writers can earn badges, engage in pep talks with published authors, and scour inspirational resources along the way. NaNoWriMo sponsors interactive forums for members to discuss plot holes, character naming, facts, and other details needed for the perfect page-turner.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Case of the Mysterious Painting: A JSTOR Detective Story

File:Van Eyck - Arnolfini Portrait.jpg
Portrait by Jan Van Eyck, 1434  (Wikimedia Commons)
This painting by the Dutch master Jan Van Eyck, much admired for its beauty and display of artistic skill, is at the same time mysterious and intriguing. At first glance it looks like a serious, solemn occasion. But look! There's a dog at the couple's feet, and the man is standing without any shoes on! And why is there only one candle in the chandelier, and why is that one candle lit when, in fact, plenty of daylight is coming in through the window?

In a famous article published in 1934, and now in JSTOR, an online repository of scholarly research, Erwin Panofsky drew upon the medieval symbolism of these and other "clues" in the painting to argue that this was a wedding ceremony between Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, Jeanne de Cenami (117, 126).

Panofsky asserted, for example, that the single candle burning in the chandelier represented a "marriage candle" used in various ways at the time when a couple was getting married. He pointed to the dog as indicating faithfulness between a husband and wife. And Panofsky claimed that Giovanni's sandals alluded to "terra sancta," sacred ground, further supporting his wedding thesis (126).

For decades art historians admired "Panofsky's classic text" as "interpretive truth" and "reconstructed fact" (Seidel, 57). Indeed, the painting has often been titled The Arnolfini Wedding. But especially recently, some art historians are reaching different conclusions about this masterpiece. In another article that can be found in the JSTOR database, for example, Herman Colenbrander contends that Van Eyck was actually depicting a “Morgensprache,” in which the husband gave gifts to his bride the morning after their marriage (422).

How about this theory: The painting is a record of a secret loan, the bride's dowry, no less, sneakily made to skirt around the usury laws of the time! In yet another article in JSTOR, Linda Seidel proffers the painting as proof that the bride's family could use to reclaim such a loan (71-72). Seidel alleges, for example, that Jan Van Eyck served as a "notary," as evidenced by the mirror in the painting's background, which she sees as symbolizing the "seal" of a notary on a document (69-70). As a cloth merchant, Giovanni Arnolfini could use this loan to fund his business (72).

Why should we care how this portrait is interpreted? Because it gives us an example of an
immensely important undertaking for all of us--discerning truth. Throughout our lives we need to continuously examine and question both the truth claims of others and ourselves. The JSTOR database contains countless works by scholars who are in dialog with one another to uncover the best ways to interpret aspects of our world, be they causes of social ailments, themes in literary works, or, as we have seen, the meanings of visual art works.

This semester your more immediate concern may be finding scholarly sources for your paper or project, and JSTOR is a great place to look! JSTOR indexes thousands of scholarly publications, especially in the humanities, social sciences, and life sciences. JSTOR also provides millions of pages of full-text, including primary source documents and books as well as journal articles, some written well over a century ago.*

Searching JSTOR:

From the library home page at, click on A-Z List of Databases.

1.  At the alphabetical sequence near the top of the page, click on the J.
2.  Click on the JSTOR link. (If off campus, you will then need to log in.)
3.  Below the search box that appears, click on the Advanced Search link.

4.  Enter search terms in the search boxes that appear.
5.  From the drop down menu to the right of each search box, select the field in which each search term will be searched.
6.  To add search boxes, click on the Add a search box button below the last search box.
7.  Narrow by item types, such as articles, by clicking on the appropriate check boxes.
8.  Narrowing the search further by date, language, etc. is usually unnecessary.  When you are ready to execute your search, click on the Search button.

For more information on searching JSTOR, please feel free to consult with an ACC librarian. JSTOR also offers excellent guidance. JSTOR's tutorials include basic and advanced searching techniques, sorting and reviewing search results, and using JSTOR on a mobile device. Have fun exploring the wealth of scholarly resources JSTOR offers!

Works Cited

Colenbrander, Herman Th. “‘In Promises Anyone Can Be Rich!" Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini

     Double Portrait: A ‘Morgengave.’” Zeitschrift Für Kunstgeschichte, vol. 68, no. 3,

     2005, pp. 413–424. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Panofsky, Erwin. “Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait.” The Burlington Magazine for

     Connoisseurs, vol. 64, no. 372, 1934, pp. 117–127. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Seidel, Linda. “‘Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait’: Business as Usual?” Critical Inquiry,

     vol. 16, no. 1, 1989, pp. 55–86. JSTOR, JSTOR,

* Full-text coverage in JSTOR varies from publication to publication.  For most periodicals, an embargo on the most recent five years of articles is in effect. That is, JSTOR often indexes a periodical up to the present without providing full-text to the periodical’s most recent five years of articles. For more recent articles, you may wish to search some of the other great databases that ACC's libraries provide.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

National Veterinary Technician Week, October 14-20

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has declared October 14-20th National Veterinary Technician Week! So show some love to our amazing Veterinary Technician students and the Vet Tech Faculty and Staff!

View this image and more at ACC's Flickr Photostream.

What is a Veterinary Technician? This occupation, that is projected to grow by 20% in the next ten years, consists of performing medical tests and assisting in the diagnosing of injuries and illnesses in animals. Learn more about the local economy from the ACC Health Sciences webpage.
Successful graduates have gone on to work in veterinary clinics, hospitals, research facilities, and private practices.

Interested in pursuing an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology degree? Check out the degree plan to see how you can get started and what lies ahead. Learn more about ACC's Vet Tech program on their homepage.

Vet Tech library materials are housed at the Elgin campus. Check out the latest titles and more on our Vet Tech Research Guide. While you're at it, relieve some stress along the way through a Guided Meditation.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Voter Registration & Election Info

Voter Registration & Election Info

Election 2018

On November 6th, Americans will have the opportunity to exercise the most important responsibility we have in a democracy – our right to vote. Please take some time to review the resources and information listed below. And get out there and VOTE!

Registering to Vote:

You must register before you can vote. The last day to register to vote for the 2018 Congressional Election is October 9th. You can register in person or by mail. has information on registering to vote in your county. You can check to see if you are already registered on the Am I Registered? Website.

Early Voting:

Early voting in Texas will be held from October 22nd to November 2nd. All registered Texas voters can vote early in person. Bring an acceptable form of photo ID. You can find your early voting locations using the Am I Registered? Website.

Election Day:

Polls are open from 7am to 7pm on November 6th, Election Day. Bring an acceptable form of photo ID. You can find your poll location using the Am I Registered? Website.

What's on the Ballot?:

You can find out what will be on the ballot at The League of Women's Voters also publishes a non-partisan voters' guide for the counties around Austin.

More Information:

For more information on elections and voting, check out the library's Government Subject Guide. The library also has books on U.S. Congressional Elections, Political Campaigns, and Political Culture.

Monday, September 17, 2018

National Hispanic Heritage Month - Mes de la Herencia Hispana

Spanish explorerSeptember 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

With roots going back to 1968 as "Hispanic Heritage Week" under President Lyndon Johnson, the commemoration was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15 (Public Law 100-402).

September 15 is significant because it is the  Independence Day  for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua (1821). The month includes Mexico's Independence Day, Diez y Seis de Septiembre, September 16, Chile's, September 18, and Día de la Raza on October 12.

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), announced the 2018 Hispanic Heritage Month theme: “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.” 


Hispanic Texans: Journey from Empire to Democracy is a 51-page PDF guide from the Texas Historical Commission for heritage travelers. It features sites in ten heritage trail regions of the state. The guide can be downloaded to a smartphone for use on trips.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents ¡Del Corazon! Latino Voices in American Art in Spanish and English. 

10 facts for National Hispanic Heritage Month. Krogstad, J.M. (2016, September 15). Pew Research Center. This site provides a recent snapshot of the Hispanic/Latino population.

The Library of Congress provides Primary Source Sets for Teachers, Exhibits and Collections, Audio and Video, and Images. The Library of Congress also offers an Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape.

Primary source sets for history of Latino Americans can also be found at the Digital Public Public Library.

Google launched Latino Cultures within Google Arts & Culture in 2017.  According to American Libraries, the "more than 2,500 Latino cultural artifacts online ... offer first-hand knowledge about the Latino experience in America."
Since 2004, the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino have been advocating to create a Smithsonian American Latino Museum. Their site includes a "Find a Latino Museum" search.


The Latino Americans Collection.
This collection, accessed through Kanopy streaming media, “is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become... the largest minority group in the U.S.”  (320 mins, 6 videos). 

Visiones: Latino Art & Culture Series.
This award winning PBS series "is a journey through the music, words, dance, painting and performance of rich Latino cultures made more complex and fascinating by their history in our country. From New York City's break-dancers to mural-painters in Los Angeles and Chicago to theater in Texas, the series offers a unique cross section of Latino artists working today." (162 mins, 6 videos).


Libguides are web pages librarians use to share information and relevant resources in a particular subject field, as well as to provide instruction in finding and using library resources. Please visit these guides related to National Hispanic Heritage Month:

Multicultural History: Hispanic/Latinx 

Dimensions of Diversity: Hispanic/Latinx


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

MedlinePlus - Trusted Health Information
MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. (See the Espanol button.) MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free.

Explore MedlinePlus yourself by clicking on the options below:
  • Health TopicsFind information on health, wellness, disorders and conditions
  • Drugs & SupplementsLearn about prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements
  • Videos & ToolsDiscover tutorials, health and surgery videos, games, and quizzes
  • Lab Test InformationLearn why your doctor orders laboratory tests and what the results may mean
  • Medical EncyclopediaArticles and images for diseases, symptoms, tests, treatments
Or, take a Video Tour:

Friday, August 3, 2018

Top Ten ACC Library Resources

1. ACC Library Services Website
Start here for all your research needs! Search our online catalog, do in-depth research in our databases, explore Research Guides, complete Research Success Tutorials! All of our resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any computer with internet access.

Most libraries have study rooms you can reserve in advance for group study! Sign up at the reference desk with your ACC student ID card. Reservations can be made up to one week in advance and are for a maximum of two hours. Prefer to reserve online? Sign up at Round Rock and South Austin and check back for more locations in Fall 2018.
There’s a library on every campus! Even though we have multiple locations, we’re all one library with the same services, programs, and policies. Check out a book at HLC, return it at RVS! Have a book sent from RRC to HYS!

4. Online Research Guides for Every Subject
Our expert faculty librarians create “guided tours” of library resources for all the subjects taught at ACC. These mini websites give you a place to start, no matter what you’re researching. There are also research guides for specific classes/assignments, different types of information, and library skills.

Librarians are available 24/7! During regular ACC library hours, our chat service is staffed by an ACC librarian on duty. However, even when our libraries are closed, we have an “After Hours” chat staffed by librarians elsewhere who are trained, willing, and able to help ACC students with their assignments.

Our award-winning Research Success Tutorials help students with important research concepts, ranging from Identifying Keywords to Academic Honesty to Fake News. Each interactive tutorial is brief and has an assessment quiz at the end that can be printed or sent to instructors.

Did you know you can check out many different items at the library, not just books? Our campus libraries have calculators, laptops, headphones, and even iPads! Each campus has several iPads that students can check out for two weeks at a time.


8. Library Social Media Accounts
Like us! Follow us! Interact with us! Check out our social media channels for important announcements, event information, and occasional silliness.
The ACC Library BatLab is a pop-up makerspace for all ACC students, faculty, and staff interested in doing hands-on, real-world, multidisciplinary projects in an informal, co-curricular setting. Check out a Raspberry Pi kit, make a light-up greeting card, or create something new with our 3D printer. Come join our noise!

Every library is staffed with highly-trained, expert faculty librarians who can help you with all your research needs! Librarians have Master’s degrees in their field and work closely with the classroom faculty at ACC. Each librarian is an expert in specific subject areas and works hard to purchase materials that will support the curricula for those departments.