In the world of academic research, patents are classified as primary literature, and are recognized as “a rich source of technical, legal and business information presented in a generally standardized format and often not reproduced anywhere else” (World Intellectual Property Organization, 2015, p.4). Because of their status, patents are often left out of conversations surrounding source credibility and evaluation. Recent news relating to the conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and several patents, however, demonstrates the potential use of patents in spreading misinformation and disinformation. Through applying source evaluation techniques in keeping with the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, particularly the frames “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” and “Information Creation as a Process,” librarians and other educators can encourage students to take a more nuanced view of patents as information sources.


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