Does authority still matter?

The exhibit Claiming Authority: Do Authenticity, Reliability, and Authoritativeness still matter? is on display during regular Special Collections Hours in the Chapin Gallery, February 8-May 10, 2018.

Williams librarians are wayfinders and meaning-makers, facilitating access to reliable information and offering daily counsel to researchers assessing the authority of sources. In 2016, the Association of College & Research Librarians adopted a framework for information literacy in higher education. Librarians use this framework as a tool to interrogate the principles that undergird our consumption of information. One of the frames, Authority is Constructed and Contextual, inspired the current exhibition — a spotlight on the traditional components of authority in an increasingly uncertain information environment. The material on display, drawn from the Chapin Library of Rare Books, the College Archives, and other Williams Special Collections, embodies the essential elements of authority: authenticity, reliability, and authoritativeness. These artifacts, books, manuscripts, and visual works are collocated to pose the question: Are these elements of authority still relevant? Am I authentic? Am I reliable? Am I authoritative? How do you know?