Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA, Day 4, Ethics & Nonfiction

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads
It's day 4 of Armchair BEA and I'm back for more!  To find out more about this fun event, check out the Armchair BEA site

I've not been one of the unfortunate ones to run into plagiarism of my blog.  This isn't to say it doesn't happen, but I'm not actively looking for it, nor do I suppose any of my readers either.  I have watched from the sidelines of many plagiarism issues blew up in the blogosphere.  I have never really wanted to add my two cents to the fray. 

I work with college students and I know very intimately the importance of citing your sources, giving credit, and the consequences in the real world of plagiarism.  I've given many a lecture on how to cite your sources and when you should, though often when I graded papers later, I wondered if they had even heard me.

 This is not just a blogging problem, it is much broader than that.  What I think is more insidious about it here online is that it is very easy to get away with.  There is no one to "grade the paper" or "check your work."  Many do not make that connection between what you read somewhere else and what you write on your blog.  And it can be hard!  What happens if you read something and it aligns with what you've been thinking.  Does blogging about the same thing make you a plagiarist?  Very likely, no.  But, it never hurts to link back to that other person, if only to say, "My thoughts are similar to this person's."  I've tried to do this when I read a review that says what I wanted to say, only better.

I guess my only advice is to be aware of what you read and what you blog.  Remember to link to those people who may inspire or get your thoughts flowing.  It's better to share the love than end up on the brunt end of a plagiarism "scandal."

I was going to talk about my nonfiction reading, but it is so slim these days it's not really worth mentioning.  I just wish I read more!  I'm totally open for some suggestions of highly readable non-fiction.  Here are a few titles I've enjoyed over the years:

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
Miles to Go for Freedom by Linda Barnett Osborne
The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin
Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Longitude by Dava Sobel
Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas

What do you recommend?  And how do you deal with plagiarism?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. You're right, it is a lot easier to get away with plagiarism online since there is no grading and no one to police it.

    1. It's so easy too to fly under the radar, I think.

  2. What I wonder is how people find out they've been plagarized. I have a plagerism checking gizmo set up, but I don't actually trust it...and I guess I could check particularly brilliant turns of phrase from my blog (or egrigious spelling errors), to see if anyone has been borrowing (I only did this once, and they hadn't).

    Longitude has been sitting on my tbr pile forever...

    1. I don't even think I have a plagiarism thing set up to let me know. Most of the ones I've heard about, someone else noticed it! Spelling errors sounds like something I should check on :)

  3. I haven't dealt with plagiarism..that I know of.

    Nonfiction is my true love :) I adore fiction as well but I always come back to non. It's a great way to learn about any subject under the sun. I've read some fantastic ones lately. The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne comes to mind.

    1. I've heard great things about World's Strongest Librarian! I really need to give it a try. And more nonfiction a try. It is a lot of fun to learn about interesting stuff.

  4. I too work with college students and after a 10 year hiatus was stunned at how little they know about plagiarism. So to see it in the blogging community doesn't surprise me. But I am glad that so many ABEA are speaking out about it.

    1. So, so true. The students I work with now seem particularly unaware. So glad we can talk about it now, too!

  5. I just finished Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle. It's the story of her marriage and it is wonderful.

    Though, now that I've typed this out, I remember that you are due to have a baby soon, so maybe skip it. Or at least, go in knowing that it is sad (pregnancy made sad things SO much sadder for me).

    1. Ooh a story about L'Engle? I'll have to read it. But, yes, after the baby is born :)


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