Plagiarism The Internet is NOT Public Domain

This is a post I originally published on the Kirkwood Libraries blog, I recently updated it and I thought it might be worth sharing here too.

One of the topics we talk about a lot in library orientations is plagiarism. Sometimes students wonder aloud just how big a deal it is. This story shows that even if you can get away with it for awhile, when you are caught it’s a major problem.

Original Post

Here is the blog post that started it all where the writer lets everyone know she was plagiarized and what the plagiarist did about it:
http://illadore.livejournal.com/30674.html

Basically the response was one that I’ve gotten when I discovered someone had used some of my stuff without asking. Please note NONE of these statements are true.

  1. Everything on the web is fair game to be used in anyway you want.
  2. They are doing you a favor because they are sharing content that no one would see it where you had it posted. (How this is supposed to help you in any way when often they’ve taken off your name and anything that points to you is beyond me, but this is what people say.)
  3. What they did is so great you should be paying them for what they did and you are a terrible, terrible person for even questioning them.

NPR News Story about the event

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2010/11/05/131091599/the-day-the-internet-threw-a-righteous-hissyfit-about-copyright-and-pie?sc=fb&cc=fp

This article from NPR spells out the original situation once the plagiarism was discovered and the initial responses by both the people involved and other people who discovered the story on the Internet.

Magazine Folds

http://techland.com/2010/11/17/cooks-source-magazine-controversy-episode-3-the-editor-strikes-back/

As it was shown that the magazine had operated this way (acting as if the internet was all public domain and stealing content) for years, it was unable to stay in business as the publication and even its advertisers were swept up in a wave of angry social media. The magazine has now completely ceased operation as reported in this news article.

Statement as Reposted

Although the magazine took down its internet site, before it did it posted a statement about the situation. This text was reprinted on several sites and appears to be genuine. The copyedited version is a bit tongue and cheek, but is accurate while being funny. It’s worth a read.

http://blog.kitchenmage.com/2010/11/cooks-source-statement-slightly-corrected.html

This whole mess also drives home two points about citation as well.

  1. Just changing a few words around does not cut it. If you are using someone else’s idea you have to give them credit if it’s an academic paper or pay them if it’s anything else.
  2. Note the date you reference a website. They can disappear.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Advertisements

How Research Works: The Yale Goals Study

The more I work as a reference librarian, the more convinced I am that most people don’t have a good idea in their head about what the process of research looks like. Also, people have trouble telling the difference between something well researched and something not. So from time to time, I like to highlight articles that I’ve come across that do a good job explaining the process the researcher went through to get as close as possible to the truth.

I have previously posted about Clark Gable’s Undershirt and Easter Island.

The Yale Goals Study

Today’s post features an element that drives my friend Nancy Cleaveland crazy, using information because “I read it somewhere.” She even named her sock monkey Iris in honor of this frequent comment.

Oliver Burkeman and the Fast Company noticed that the Yale Goals Study was frequented cited in self-help materials, but that an official academic citation was never used. So they set out to find the study, but couldn’t….

https://www.fastcompany.com/3002763/why-setting-goals-could-wreck-your-life

For a follow up, check out the Yale University’s answer to the question. It also describes its efforts to prove or disprove the theory some of which is used in the article above, so of which isn’t.

What The Story Shows About Research

I especially appreciated:

  1. That they wanted to trace back a source.

This is one of the times when it’s important to back trace a reference. You don’t have to do this for every source you use, but the more you rely on it, the more work you should do tracing it down. References aren’t supposed to be, BUT CAN BE, a bit like playing telephone, especially when a direct quote isn’t used. Having an idea in your head you can easily grab an idea from someone else and cite it in a way they wouldn’t have. A couple of citations down the line and it can be established that someone means something that they never did or weren’t sure about or were postulating as a possibility. Even a quote can be taken out of context to shade its meaning closer to what you want. In this case a study, The Yale Study of Goals, wasn’t academically cited just passed along from one motivational speaker and/or writer to another.

2. Dig

They did a search themselves looking for both the study itself and for instances when the study was cited to trace it back.

3. Contacted Multiple People And/Or Groups

Branches of research and organizations can be very insular. Sometimes people strain to prove things that other people either already have or know about. Before you invest too much work into a topic, ASK! I can think of several times I’ve seen that happen in Laura research alone where someone had done the research and someone else came along and not knowing about the original research re-did the search. That is not always bad, sometimes you can pick up something they missed, but for basic facts it’s often a lot of unnecessary work that can they be applied to fresh subjects instead. Often even if you want to reconfirm the work it might give you locations of collections or information that you might not have thought to check so ask organizations and people first.

Sometimes an organization is just in a better position to search for information than any individual. In this case they turned to the Yale University Archivist who also involved the Yale Alumni Association. The association had access to members contact information which allowed them to quickly survey a good chunk of the class in question. They also were an organization the class members already had a relationship so they were more likely to respond to them. An individual could have done the same thing, but at the cost of a lot more research and likely a lower response rate.

4. And a Problem Analysis

They then took the idea that the non-existent survey was wrong and looked for information to support it. This is the weakest part of the article as they only give one example. Perhaps they offer more in the book? However, a single example, while illustrative, is hardly compelling and even if they didn’t take us through the full explanation of each listing a couple of more examples we could follow up on our own if we wanted to would have strengthened the piece.

Conclusion:

So let me say kudos to them for actually looking at a source and tracking it down. They did what the speakers who were building their careers on motivation should have done themselves. Although proving a negative is very difficult, this seems to pin down fairly conclusively that no such study, at least at that time and place, ever existed. The piece is much weaker in them proving that because the study didn’t exist that it was necessarily wrong in its conclusion. A further exploration of long term studies that DID exist and focused on goals would have had a lot to the strength of the piece.

Bonus: But why 1953?

There probably was a reason the person who told the story originally settled on 1953. However, putting a date on something always makes it seem real. I would bet that whenever it started the 1950s were far enough past that it worked with the story of checking later in life and it was probably in a year that ended with 3. People like round numbers and 30 years, 40 years would make it a nice figure.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Mentions September 2017

Uthoff at Night Using Tin Lantern
Uthoff at Night Using Tin Lantern

The mentions that Sarah Uthoff and Trundlebed Tales got during the month of September 2017. This month was a slow one on the news front. A little work I did awhile ago as background for a blog post popped back up. If you haven’t discovered History Myths Debunked, the blog or Death By Petticoat, the book, do so. 🙂

Theobald, Mary Miley. “Revisited Myth # 129: Punched patterns on tin lanterns varied by family so people could tell who was moving about outside at night.” History Myths Debunkedhistorymyths.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/revisited-myth-129-punched-patterns-on-tin-lanterns-varied-by-family-so-people-could-tell-who-was-moving-about-outside-at-night Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Harvesting Wheat at Henry Ford

During the 19th century in the Midwest being a successful farmer meant that you had a successful wheat farm. Every place Charles Ingalls established a farm he was growing wheat.

Wheat
Wheat

In Little House in the Big Woods they describe harvesting wheat with a cradle (a scythe with wooden spokes to catch the wheat as it was cut), but both Pa and Father Wilder were interested in new technology so they go the new equipment as they could afford as it came out. This is harvesting with a reaper.

Man Reaping with a Cradle
Cyrus Hall McCormick: Reaper Man Illinois Periodicals Online – Northern Illinois University448 × 324Search by image This farmer is using a cradle to cut wheat. Until the advent of the reaper, harvesting wheat was done by hand with implements like the one shown here. Linked

Wheat Today and Yesterday

In old photos you often see wheat in shocks. In order to build a good shock you need taller wheat than is commonly grown today. As there is less need for straw the stem is waste and takes extra nutrients and water to grow so wheat has been bred to be shorter.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

DVDs of South Dakota Conference Available

A big Laura Ingalls Wilder conference was held by the South Dakota State Society History Conference April 28 – 29, 2017 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There was a lot of excitement when TPTB announced they were going to be offering DVDs of the proceedings. I haven’t done my full report on the conference yet — I’ve been waiting to rewatch on the DVDs first — but I did interview Nancy Koupal about it.

John E. Miller
John E. Miller

DVDs of Conference Available

Full information about the DVDs was coming later AND it’s finally later. Whether you attended in person or not, you can purchase a set of the DVDs of the full conference.

The cost is $50 for the full set, plus $5 for shipping, and it includes 7 DVDs that cover the entire conference.

You may pay by check, please make it to SD Historical Society Conference, or credit card by calling (605) 773-6009.

Mail checks to:
Jennifer E. McIntyre
Marketing Director
Associate Editor
South Dakota Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501

What’s On It?

Find out more information about the conference. It has the full presentations of all speakers. The speakers were the people who had been selected to submit essays for Pioneer Girl Perspectives which was released at the conference.

Featured Speakers

William Anderson, an award-winning historian and author, has written extensively on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House novels. Hear his podcast episode.

Caroline Fraser is the editor of the Library of America’s two-volume edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.

Michael Patrick Hearn, a scholar of American literature, is one of the country’s leading specialists in children’s literature and its illustrators.

Nancy Tystad Koupal is director and editor-in-chief of the South Dakota State Historical Society’s Pioneer Girl Project and the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Hear her podcast episode.

Elizabeth Jameson has conducted in-depth studies into the history of women in the West, including the pioneer narratives of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane.

Sallie Ketcham is the author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: American Writer on the Prairie, which is a part of the Routledge Historical Americans series.

Amy Lauters is the author of The Rediscovered Writings of Rose Wilder Lane, Literary Journalist, which explores Lane’s literary and journalistic career.

John E. Miller has published three books on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, career, and place as a Midwestern woman. Hear his podcast episode.

Paula M. Nelson has written extensively on rural women’s history and the agricultural settlement of the Great Plains.

Ann Romines won the Children’s Literature Association’s award for best scholarly book on children’s literature for Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Noel Silverman has worked with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s legacy for over forty-five years and as counsel to the Little House Heritage Trust since its inception.

Upcoming Post

Once I’ve had a chance to watch it again look for my full report on the conference.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Eclipse is Coming

In King Arthur’s Court

“Name any terms, reverend sir, even to the halving of my kingdom; but banish this calamity, spare the sun!”

My fortune was made. I would have taken him up in a minute, but I couldn’t stop an eclipse; the thing was out of the question. So I asked time to consider. The king said:

“How long—ah, how long, good sir? Be merciful; look, it groweth darker, moment by moment. Prithee how long?”

“Not long. Half an hour—maybe an hour.”

There were a thousand pathetic protests, but I couldn’t shorten up any, for I couldn’t remember how long a total eclipse lasts.

***

It grew darker and darker and blacker and blacker, while I struggled with those awkward sixth-century clothes. It got to be pitch dark, at last, and the multitude groaned with horror to feel the cold uncanny night breezes fan through the place and see the stars come out and twinkle in the sky. At last the eclipse was total, and I was very glad of it, but everybody else was in misery; which was quite natural. I said:

“The king, by his silence, still stands to the terms.” Then I lifted up my hands—stood just so a moment—then I said, with the most awful solemnity: “Let the enchantment dissolve and pass harmless away!”

There was no response, for a moment, in that deep darkness and that graveyard hush. But when the silver rim of the sun pushed itself out, a moment or two later, the assemblage broke loose with a vast shout and came pouring down like a deluge to smother me with blessings and gratitude; and Clarence was not the last of the wash, to be sure.

– Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court

A Real Life Total Eclipse Comes to North America

The eclipse sequence is one of my favorites in one of my favorite books. (Some day I’m going to write an essay on it and what it shows about changing American culture.) This time though, being smart Yankees ourselves, we know the eclipse is coming so we have time to prepare ourselves.

The path of the total eclipse will barely touch Iowa, although we’re close enough to its path that we should still get a pretty decent one.

Be sure to watch safely.

More Resources

For more resources check out these recommendations from our friendly neighbors in Nebraska that will have the eclipse cross the entire state.

Bibliography

https://www.starnetlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Eclipse-Bibliography-Libraries.pdf

More resources from the libraries of Nebraska

http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/2017/06/14/solar-eclipse-countdown-71-days-counting-part-1/

http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/2017/06/27/solar-eclipse-resources-part-two-54-days-counting/

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Memorial Day 2017

It’s once again Memorial Day where we take a weekend and remember those who have passed on both those members of the military who gave their last full measure of devotion, those who passed on later, and our own lost family and friends. I hope to see you at your local services.

The Smithsonian explains where Memorial Day celebrations come from:

http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/osaycanyousee/2013/05/you-asked-we-answered-why-do-we-celebrate-memorial-day.html

Time explains why Memorial Day became a Three Day Weekend:

http://time.com/4346170/memorial-day-three-day-weekend

Look at past year posts:

Avenue of Flags

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.