Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality - New Report from the Berkman Center


The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to share a substantial new report from the Youth and Media project: "Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality" by Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi, Momin Malik, & Ashley Lee.

Building upon a process- and context-oriented information quality framework, this paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.

A review of selected literature at the intersection of digital media, youth, and information quality—primarily works from library and information science, sociology, education, and selected ethnographic studies—reveals patterns in youth’s information-seeking behavior, but also highlights the importance of contextual and demographic factors both for search and evaluation. To access the full report and additional material, please visit:

Key Findings:
1. Search shapes the quality of information that youth experience online.
2. Youth use cues and heuristics to evaluate quality, especially visual and interactive elements.
3. Content creation and dissemination foster digital fluencies that can feed back into search and evaluation behaviors.
4. Information skills acquired through personal and social activities can benefit learning in the academic context.

"Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality" lays the foundation and raises questions for further explorations in this area. The report also encourages a public policy discussion on youth, digital media, and information quality issues. We hope you will take the time to review the report, to build upon it, and to share it with interested colleagues and networks.

We wish to thank all of our wonderful collaborators at the Berkman Center, our friends at the Harvard Law School Library, and the participants of a workshop on information quality for their valuable contributions and their important work in the field. The report builds upon research enabled by generous grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

As always, we welcome your feedback.

Urs Gasser, John Palfrey, Sandra Cortesi, and the Youth and Media team

Original article can be found here.

Urs Gasser
Sandra Cortesi
Momin Malik
Ashley Lee

This work is protected by a Creative Commons License.

Publication Date: 
February 23, 2012