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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Information Evaluation: Audio/Visual Media

Audiovisual Media and the SIFT Method

Even though the SIFT Method focuses mainly on textual material, it can also be applied to audio/visual media (images, sounds, video, etc.) in certain cases, providing tools to find and evaluate sources of media in their original context. Take a look at the material below to see how the SIFT method can be applied to audio/visual media, and how, sometimes, we can make additional considerations.

Reverse Image Search to Find Trusted Coverage

Sometimes (many times!) claims or stories will come to you in the form of images. If you want to find trusted coverage of the issue, claim, or photo, you have a couple options:

  • You can search on some relevant text from the image, if, for example it is a meme or a supposed photograph of a sign
  • You can use reverse image search. We show you how to do this in Google Chrome below, but other browsers have similar methods.

Keep in mind that if reverse image search is difficult due to the device or browser you are using, you can usually get pretty far with the text search of Google Images. The two (1:30/3:06) videos below will show you examples of using reverse image search to find trusted coverage:


For more information on using the SIFT Method for evaluating visual media on the web, please refer to the SIFT Method portion of this guide, especially Move Three: Find Better Coverage and Move Four: Trace Quotes, Claims and Media to Their Original Context.

Is that Fake?

In an era of Photoshop and deepfakes, how can we ever be sure about the authenticity and context of the images we see online? Must we comb through every suspicious image, performing pixel-level analysis while looking for signs of manipulation?

Luckily, it's much easier than that. Digital literacy expert, Mike Caulfield, offers a couple quick, practical tips for tracing online images back to their original context to figure out it they're "real." in the (4:13) video below:

Art and Visual Literacy

Looking for some specific ways to analyze and interpret art? Take a look at Toledo Museum of Art's webpage below, which goes into detail about the ways we can take a close look at art (or any image) to better understand it.


The type of analysis described on the webpage above is part of a bigger concept, Visual Literacy, that encompasses almost every single thing we see and interact with on a daily basis. As one would imagine, taking the time to develop and practice your visual literacy skills is essential to thinking critically about the media you consume. The (2:46) video below will show you how visual literacy and critical thinking go hand in hand:

For an in-depth discussion of visual literacy, watch Toledo Museum of Art's (15:29) video: What is Visual Literacy?


This guide is based on the work of Mike FitzGerald, Los Angeles Valley College Library, which can be found here.

The SIFT Method portion of this guide was adapted from "Check, Please!" (Caulfield). The canonical version of Check, Please! exists at (CC-BY). As the authors of the original version have not reviewed any other copy's modifications, the text of any site not arrived at through the above link should not be sourced to the original authors.