Do You Know What Constitutes Plagiarism?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That’s how many of us think about college, especially around finals time. And that right there is plagiarism, because those unforgettable words were penned by master wordsmith Charles Dickens in his novel A Tale of Two Cities. But plagiarism is a much deeper subject than just copying someone else’s words. Fortunately for you, the Hartness Library team is on your side and has a new resource available to help you avoid plagiarism pitfalls.

Photo of a man in a museum.

Photo courtesy of Alexey Druzhinin and used under Creative Commons License.

The thing is, most of us don’t really know all of the ins and outs of plagiarism. From fair use and public domain, to the differences between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, it gets kind of confusing. And let’s not even bring up this idea of self-plagiarism! Fortunately here at CCV, we’ve got silver bullets for dealing with plagiarism, and they’re called superstar librarians. They work at Hartness, and they’ve done a bang-up job creating a new Understanding Plagiarism website to help all of us better understand what it is we need to avoid so we’re not inadvertently using someone else’s hard work.

And, get this: the site is so cool, it’s been selected as the PRIMO: Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online Site of the Month for December 2015 by the Association of College and Research Libraries (See, we told you Hartness has superstar librarians).

The upshot is this—plagiarism isn’t just straight up copying from someone else. There’s nuance there, and since we’re all human, we all make mistakes. After all, if you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? Wait…no, that’s from The Merchant of Venice.….Ughh. Just visit the site.

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