“Fake news is any false story that looks like news. It is designed to convince readers that it’s true. Some fake news is created and spread intentionally. A poorly researched story that contains errors might also be considered fake news. Fake news has boomed in recent years” which is why the theme of the BOBCATSSS 2020 conference is “Information management, fake news and disinformation”.


BOBCATSSS is an international annual symposium which addresses hot topics for librarians and information professionals in a fast-changing environment. It is created by and for students, teachers, researchers and professionals in the information field. BOBCATSSS is held under the auspices of EUCLID (European Association for Library and Information Education and Research). It is a tradition which has been passed on from one European country to another since 1993, providing a rich professional conference and working seminar program, accompanied by numerous opportunities for networking, personal exchanges, discussions, and learning.

BOBCATSSS 2020 will take place in France, in a Parisian University. It is jointly organized by the Institut Francilien d’Ingénierie des Services (IFIS), Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, and University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (ULSIT), Sofia, Bulgaria.


# Information, misinformation and disinformation
# Librarians as gatekeepers of trustworthy information
# Librarians mission to educate and advocate for the truth
# Online disinformation
# Fake news as scientific and democratic challenges
# Critical thinking as a key skill against fake news
# Truth Society vs. Fake News Society
# Tools or platforms for detecting fake news
# Innovative tools, practices, and strategies for fighting fake news and enhancing media literacy
# Legislative policy against fake news
# Intellectual Property as an educational weapon
# EU strategies in the field of fake news
# Information and media literacy as a shield against fake news
# Innovative educational services in libraries
# Free media vs. not free media, alternative media
# Freedom of speech
# Propaganda and psy-operation, psychological warfare
# Right to free expression as human right
# Media censorship
# Buzz, virality and social media
# Privacy and digital citizenship
# Open access to scientific information as a weapon against fake news


From Italy: Matilde Fontanin


“Fake news” has become a buzzword, but what does it mean? Understood, apparently, by everyone, the concept is the object of multidisciplinary studies. Admittedly, the first realm it touches is the news, that is journalist and political communication, but any discipline dealing with information cannot help but come to terms with a phenomenon which, ephemeral as it may be, has a great impact on our onlife experience.

Though already existing in the analogic world, fake news rises ethical questions after its inception in the digital realm. As for any innovation, it is only after the discovery phase is over that humans reflect on its impact on civil society. Cybernetics, founded by Norbert Wiener, induced Père Dubarle to wonder whether the new science, combined with the theory of games, would eventually generate a machine à gouverner, “to supply the obvious inadequacy of the brain when the latter is concerned with the customary machinery of politics”. These words, written decades ago, could still build the basis for an ethical reflection.

Since fake news affects information, the question is to what extent it affects a profession whose mission is to offer “an online collection of digital objects of assured quality” as the IFLA/UNESCO Manifesto for Digital Libraries states. Should LIS professionals deal with truth only? What is the meaning of true as opposed to fake? To what lengths should librarians strive to “verify” information? Where is the thin line between selection and censorship? And, above all, who says it is their task at all? After attempting a broad definition based on current literature, the focus of this talk is on the impact that the spread of fake news, disinformation and misinformation has on LIS professionals in terms of their mission, code of ethics, competences and professional requirements.