Information authority and carnival

Mardi Gras sheet music cover

Image by Ralph E. Elicker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Since Mardi Gras was two days ago, I thought about the idea of carnival.  According to some theories carnival involves a temporary inversion of social norms, with a potential challenge to authority (Theories, 2016).  How do we subvert information authority?

Let’s consider how we call for scholarly sources.  While such sources have their place, exposure to varied popular and trade sources would benefit learners.  Learners would get a feel for how “Authority is constructed and contextual” (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2015).  At the same time they would gain practice evaluating sources no matter the intended audience.

Carnival involves a temporary upending  of authority, and I don’t advocate a total overthrow of scholarly sources.  I would not base a research project solely on the Wikipedia article (Theories, 2016) I used, for example, but I could follow the references.    Just as popular festivals have their functions, popular sources play their role.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2015).  Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website :

Theories. (2016). In Carnival. Retrieved from