About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What is appropriate to appropriate?

I encountered three situations that is the encentive for this post.

Yesterday, I was discussing "plagerism" and how our students perceive it, especially when using the internet. As I am teaching a speech course this semester, the question of plagerism becomes a bit dicey. It is not really interesting to hear a number of names when listening to a speech (think of the boring Oscar speeches when winners list all the people they want to thank). However, the information within a speech came from somewhere, so how can it be integrated into a speech without making it boring?

One way is through presentation software. Charts and pictures should have sources on the slides used to augment speeches. Another way is to create verbal "links" by using supporting information such as video clips (which will have the source on it).

In this same class, students are required to give a bibliography they used in preparing the speech. This means that students need to cite references in an acceptable format. I have used Zotero on my computer for the last year. However, one of my students mentioned that the new version of Word includes a citation feature. I still prefer Zotero as you can capture the information as you browse directly from the web. I was pleased, though, to see that word processing software recognizes the importance of including citations (and the tediousness of formating it correctly for each citation).

Finally, I have been trying to redesign the way my blog looks as I don't think it was necessarily reader friendly and perhaps a bit boring. On the one hand I don't want anything that will slow down the download time for those with dial-up (I had it for so long the pain of waiting for a page to load is still fresh!), but I would like to use pictures a bit more. One of the things holding me back is that I own very few usable pictures (although I did think of beginning to create my own library of visuals I could use that would reflect my postings). However, I was surprised to come across a post by Vicki Davis on the use of pictures available through creative commons.

I still am trying to deliniate when to use something (or link or cite ideas) within the blog. If I were writing a paper, it would be very cut and dry. However, blogging protocols are somewhat different. If I appropriate something directly from online (i.e. cut and paste), I, of course cite it and use the quotes. But what format should I use to cite? I have found that I feel much more comfortable linking the orginial document rather than "quoting" from it. However, there are times, such as when there are a number of comments and you want to use that comment in a post, when quotes are more effective. I am not sure I am 100% comfortable using the images from the creative commons sites as some people have stipulations (such as not using for commercial purposes, citing the source of the image) which might vary from picture to picture. What if I don't follow their stipulations (unintentionally)? However, I am beginning to find my own style of crediting others for their ideas.

How do you address this issue? Is it different in academic settings? Professional or business settings? Does it depend on the audience? How do you know what style to use? I would love to get others inputs on this issue.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia,

I think it comes down to how you would like your post to scan.

I usually look at aspects of how to cope with quotes, citations etc from the point of view of the reader. How difficult is it for the reader to follow the text and understand what's being conveyed?

For instance, it can be quite disjointed if an important fact or piece of info, on which the whole point of the text hinges on, is just given to the reader in a link. The reader has to stop reading, open the link, read the passage (which may run to several pages), sift out the salient bit the writer is referring to - sigh!

Often, I find that I'm not sure what the writer is citing in the linked post, so I completely lose the thread of the text in the original post. Stupid.

I usually give a brief description, in cases like that, with a link to cite the source. It gives the reader all that's necessary to understand the rest of the post in context.

Some writers seem to assume that I've read all the related posts referred to in the post and they blaze ahead with their soliloquy. I'm left scratching around to get some understanding from the links that they have, fortunately, given me. Frankly, I think that this is poor post writing.

Having some knowledge of how to incorporate a quote directly into the text of what you are writing often helps. If the quote can be spliced seamlessly into what you're saying it's even better, as in, "the best words in the best order", used by Colerige-Taylor.

Using italics can obviate the need for quotes - a convention that identifies the quoted words without detracting from the flow of what the post-writer is saying.

However, I do think it is important to cite the origin any important reference in a way that's convenient for the reader. Then the option of following it up is offered.

There's an interesting discussion on a post by Sandipan on eCube, where plagiarism, quoting and other related aspects are aired - you may have seen it?

Ka kite

V Yonkers said...

I have to agree with you. There's nothing worse than going to link, reading through (scanning through) and still not able to find what they were referring to!

Hopefully I don't do this (although my husband insists that he can't follow my reasoning when I talk to him).