Assignment 2. question 6 assignment example: Information Ethics (athenaaegis)


Remember, you may need to hunt around to find the information for the citation.

Various Authors.  A 2001 Update in the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts Plagiarism Case. All about Romance:  the Back Fence for Lovers of Romance Novels.  May 1, 2001.   (All of this = a citation.)

Do you have to write as much as I did?  No.  You do have to write enough to provide all the necessary information.  In my experience, that means a minimum of 4-5 sentences.

This source is a series of messages that originally came from the All about Romance Potpourri Message Board and that were collected on the 2001 Update in the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts Plagiarism Case web page cited above.   The original message board is no longer available. (This is one of the problems with using non-academic web sources – they can disappear.)  The case referred to was a copyright infringement case in which best-selling romance author Janet Dailey admitted to plagiarizing from the even better selling romance author Nora Roberts.  Dailey settled the case, with Roberts donating the settlement money to literacy and writers’ organizations.

I would probably not use this source for a paper since the original message board is no longer in existence – the page I cite is a copy.   I”m using it here for three reasons:  1.) the current site ( owned the original message board.   2.  personal sources confirmed the copy was good &  3. it’s a good example (see below). 

Reading the different messages, it is clear that the posters hold a variety of opinions as to whether Dailey’s plagiarism is really a bad thing.  One poster considered Dailey’s plagiarism/copyright infringement bad, but saw nothing wrong with copying music from less famous bands on the original Napster, even though that was copyright infringement too.

I think that what makes this source really valuable is that Nora Roberts, the writer who was plagiarized, posted (near the bottom of the page.)  Ms. Roberts points out that the plagiarism was not a single incident, but lasted more than seven years and involved 13 books.  She says that it was not a “victimless crime,”  and writes that she “would not wish this experience on anyone.”  Roberts states that there are moral  issues in addition to the legal/criminal issue of copyright infringement. (Roberts 30 April 2001)  I used only the last name and date in this note because the context of the paragraph makes it clear I’m referring to the web page cited above.  If I were doing a “real-life” parenthetical reference, I’d need to add information about the web page as well since her name doesn’t appear in the citation.

Note that I gave a link and directions for finding Nora Robert’s post (above).  For many web uses, this is considered adequate – you are acknowledging that it’s not your work and referring back to the source.  For academic use (and best practice web use) you need to use a note (explanation in the text, footnote, endnote or parenthetical reference) to give specific credit for the quoted passages.  

 I’m using a parenthetical reference in this case.  Footnotes are at the bottom of a page, endnotes at the end of a paper (or book, etc.).  Since the note is to give credit for the quotes from Ms. Roberts’ posts, I used the date of her post and not the date of the web page.

I think this is a good example of plagiarism because it explains what it is, shows how people have differing views of the seriousness of of plagiarism and tells how being plagiarized affected the victim – in this case, Nora Roberts.



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Information Ethics – intellectual property rights

The post on cheating looks at  information ethics in terms of right versus wrong.  In this post, we’ll  look at information ethics from a legal as well as an ethical perspective.

Intellectual property rights are concerned with the ownership of created works.  Created works include, but are not limited to,  books, articles, music, movies, games, software, art,  and websites.  The owners of created works have certain rights unless s/he has signed away those rights.

Copyright is the most familiar of these rights.  Copyright is a legal concept.  The laws governing copyright vary from place to place and with different time periods.   In current U.S. law, the person who created the work automatically has copyright without registration or payment (this is a change from previous U.S. copyright laws.)

Under U.S. law, copyright holders have the right to determine how their work will be used, with the exception of fair use, which we’ll look at later.  Copyright holders may also assign, or give, their copyright to another person, or more commonly, the company or institution they work for.

Copyright infringement is the use of copyrighted work without the author’s permission.  Historically, this has been difficult to prove for books and other printed materials, although the web is changing that.  As with plagiarism, it is easier both to infringe copyright and to catch the infringers thanks to the web.     Most successful lawsuits these days are brought against those who use music and/or film without getting permission from the copyright holder.  The term piracy is often used when discussing copyright infringement of music, movies and software.

When you infringe copyright you are also usually guilty of plagiarism.  However, you can plagiarize works without infringing copyright.  For example:  most government documents are in the public domain, which means you don’t have to ask permission to use  the information in them.  However, copying the information without giving credit is still plagiarism.  (Caution:  some government documents are copyrighted.   Copyrighted works will generally say so – check the back side of the title page.)

You may not think of yourself as a copyright holder (or owner), but if you take photos, create art (and crafts!), write, etc.,  then you are.  If you post photos, art, writings, etc., online, you need to be  careful that you are not signing away your rights when you post on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Before you post, check out the terms of service.  Yes, terms of service are headache inducing, but Facebook, and more  recently Instagram, have included language in their terms of service that would allow them to use your works pretty much however they wish.  Public outcry forced both to back down, but they have not changed their terms of service. (Check out Facebook’s Terms of Service, especially Section 2, #1, last sentence.)


Right about now you may be asking yourself  “how can I write a paper if I have to ask permission to use everything?”  The answer is fair use.  Fair Use  is a limitation on a copyright holder’s rights.  Thanks to fair use, you can quote brief passages from books, articles, etc., copy articles for personal use, make a mix list from music you own legally, use images and charts for educational purposes, etc.  YOU MUST STILL GIVE CREDIT or you  are guilty of plagiarism.

Fair use is generally limited to educational uses such as research papers, class presentations and art projects.  Most plays and movies presented on campus do not fall under fair use.  In most cases, you must purchase the right to present plays or movies for any group larger than a single class, and always if you charge admission (you could probably get away with asking for cans for the Food Bank for a movie shown at your religious institution of choice, but not much more).  Fair use may also apply to not-for-profit groups such as scouts and churches if the actual audience will be small.

General rules for fair use:

Things are more likely to fall under fair use if:

1.  Use is limited (for example:  one class)

2.  Only a small portion of a work is used

3.  The purpose is educational

Public Domain:  Works in the public domain  either are no longer covered by copyright or were never copyrighted (for example, many government publications.)  For research purposes, public domain means you can use large chunks of information without asking permission.  HOWEVER, you still must give credit or you are plagiarizing.

Copyright Expiration:  Copyright is granted for a specific period of time, which varies depending on the location and the most recent law.  In the U.S., current law says that all works created before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain.  CAUTION:  Some works, such as Huckleberry Finn or Pride and Prejudice,  that are out of copyright, may be published in new editions, in which some (for example, an introduction)  or all (for example, notes throughout the text)  of which may be protected by copyright.

Works created between 1924 and 1964 may or may not be protected by copyright.  You need to check each work to be sure.  Want to know more?  Check out the chart by Peter Hirtle of Cornell University.  (There’s a reason why intellectual property lawyers make a lot of money.)


Plagiarism:  using materials without giving proper credit (= cheating = unethical)

Falsification:  giving incorrect information, especially when giving credit  (= cheating = unethical)

Copyright Infringement:  using too much copyrighted material without getting permission  (illegal)

Fair Use:  The ability to use a small amount of copyrighted material for educational, or other non-profit purposes, without getting permission – if you give proper credit.

Public Domain:  a work  is in the public domain if the copyright has expired OR if the work was never copyrighted.

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Information Ethics – cheating

What do we mean by information ethics?  The short answer is:  it’s the ethical use of information.  The long answer is a bit more complex.   Joan M. Reitz, in her Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, defines it as:   “The branch of ethics that focuses on the relationship between the creation, organization, dissemination, and use of information, and the ethical standards and moral codes governing  human conduct in society.”  (*

For students this means dealing with issues such as plagiarism, falsification, and intellectual property rights.   This post will cover cheating, the next post will look at intellectual property rights.

The Weber State University Student Honor Code (6.22.IV.30.2) details what the university considers unethical and what the results will be for students who exhibit such behaviors.  All students are responsible for knowing   what to avoid.  Ignorance is not considered an acceptable excuse.

What do you need to know?  The basic concepts relating to information ethics so you won’t accidentally do something that’s considered academic dishonesty.  If you do it on purpose – that’s on you.  For those of you who might be wavering, keep in mind that while it’s easier to cheat these days,  it’s even easier to catch someone cheating.

Plagiarism  – this is a term that covers several different types of cheating.  Basically, it means claiming someone else’s work as your own.  There are three important types:

  1. Direct plagiarism – this is what most people think about when they hear the word plagiarism.  It means copying someone else’s work and claiming it as your own.
  2. Accidental or unintentional plagiarism –  there are several ways you can plagiarize accidentally.  These days, the  most common type of accidental plagiarism is when you give credit properly, but your source has plagiarized the information .  This happens when you use non-academic web sources (and it’s why you’re told to avoid them.)  Not giving proper credit and paraphrasing that are too close to the original are other ways people plagiarize accidentally.   I strongly advise you to avoid paraphrases – this is where most people have a problem.  Either do a direct quote or summarize.  Give credit to the author either way.
  3. Self-plagiarism is a related concept.  This is when you use part or all of a paper (or other assignment) that you did previously for a current assignment without indicating that you’re using previous work.  You can quote small sections (make sure to give yourself credit); however using long passages or giving a previously written paper a new title and re-submitting it are both considered cheating.

Even if you plagiarize accidentally, it’s still considered plagiarism and there are consequences if you get caught.  As I said above, ignorance is not considered an excuse.

Falsification – giving information that is false in some way.  The most common academic falsification is:   you can’t remember exactly where you found a quote.  The paper is due in one hour.  You guess and do a citation based on your guess.  You are wrong.  You’ve just committed falsification (also called misattribution.)  Falsification also includes activities such as falsifying data, making up sources and the like.

How do I deal with students who plagiarize?

First time:  you lose credit for the question and cannot revise.  I warn you about penalties if it happens again.
Second time:  in same assignment  –
     If I think it’s accidental (for example:  you confuse two citations but the rest looks good) – you lose points and can’t revise.
     If I think it was done on purpose (it’s an exact copy of a web source) – you fail the assignment and I report you to the Dean of Students. (NOTE:  the Dean of Students keeps a database of people who have been caught plagiarizing, cheating, etc.  Multiple incidents might result in academic probation or other penalties.)

Second time – different assignment – you fail the course, I report you to the Dean of Students.

The web makes it much easier to plagiarize either accidentally or on purpose.  It also makes it much easier for instructors to catch you.

How do you avoid cheating?  

  • Make the decision to do your own work.
  • Keep track of your research.
  • Avoid paraphrasing – it is very difficult to paraphrase without plagiarizing.  Summarize or use a direct quotation  instead.
  • Be very careful when you use non-academic sources on the web.
  • Give credit properly (we’ll look at this in the section on giving credit)

*I got the reference to this definition from the Wikipedia article on Information Ethics.  Finding useful sources is one of the ways you can use Wikipedia for academic assignments.

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Welcome to LIBS 2504: Information Resources in History

Welcome to Remember Where We Parked, the class blog for LIBS 2504: Information Resources in History.   Why a blog?  I’ve found that blogging is a good way to get students out of the hothouse atmosphere of Canvas and into the real world (more or less).

Because this is a required general education course, there are things we have to cover.  They are:

  • how to identify information needs
  • how to find appropriate information effectively
  • how to critically evaluate information
  • how to use information ethically

We’ll  start with identifying information needs, specifically by developing research questions.  A good research question makes finding information a lot easier no matter what your topic is.  Under finding appropriate information effectively, we’ll look at  using library databases, specialty search engines like Google Scholar and the general web.  Since this course focuses on historical resources, a part of the course will deal with finding and evaluating primary sources.  Finally,  you’ll need to evaluate resources and give credit properly .

Because I cannot handle grading even one more assignment on topics such as gun control laws, climate change, abortion, the effect of violence in the media, etc., and because this is a history course,  I assign topic areas.  This particular class has only a few history majors: they get to choose the location and time period they’re interested in researching   Everyone else will  do topics related to the ancient world.  Those of you with a declared major will need to focus on your subject area and how it relates to the ancient world.

For example:

  • a business major could research the Roman trade with China
  • a health sciences major could study surgery performed by the ancient Egyptians
  • a computer science major could research the Antikythera device

Haven’t declared a major yet?  pick a topic related to the field you are thinking of majoring in.

For example:

  • a  “possible” art major could look at using art to help decipher the ancient Egyptians beliefs in the afterlife
  • a “possible” criminal justice major could research the Roman legal response to the early growth of Christianity
  • a “possible”  history major could research  Spartan women in Spartan culture

Geographically, your topic must be located in one of the old world  continents of Europe, Africa and Asia.  You can research anything between about 4,000 BCE to about 700 CE.  I will consider dates that are earlier or later if you can give me a really good reason why you need to do so.  Given the date range and the geographic range, you have a lot of options for topics .  You can also choose a topic, such as trade, that covers several civilizations or locations as long as you focus your research.

Let me know if you have any questions – convo me via Canvas.

N.B. Why BCE and CE instead of BC and AD?  There are a couple of reasons.  The first is that not everyone is Christian, so it’s just basic courtesy to use BCE and CE.  More importantly, it’s a reminder that the ancient world was very diverse and that our world view is very different from theirs.

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Assignment 1: Introduction Post

Hello my name is Zachary, and I am working to become a conservation biologist. I chose my username because I have always been fascinated by the Greek mythology underworld. According to some legends Erebus was the part of the underworld where the dead had to pass immediately after death.

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Assignment 1: Introduction Post

Hello everyone, my name is Vinicio and I am currently going to school to receive an Associates in Health Science. Born and raised in California, my family moved to Utah 6 years ago and we have enjoyed what this state has to offer, except winter snow. I chose the username davinciscorpse because it is relating to the moment in history when Leonardo da Vinci dissected deceased human body’s in order to create an anatomical sketch. This action was illegal at the time so there are many who question how he would go about obtaining corpses, some suggest they would come from a connection he had with hospital members or grave robbers. I am excited to continue to push myself closer to my degree, and look forward to what this class has to offer.

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Assignment 1: Introduction Post

Hello my name is Kuyler. I have a really awesome wife and I am a huge fan on McDonald’s. My username, “byephoenicia”, is a play on the words, “bye Felicia”, a popular phrase from a 1995 movie that became even more widely used when the internet turned it into a common slang term for dismissing someone.

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Assignment #2- duncansteel1997

Copyright Infringement

Louis Kroeck. Examples of Copyright Violation. Houston Chronicle. 9/27/16.

These writings about copyright infringement, does not necessarily show someone doing it, because that would be illegal, but I think that the short and small information that Louis Kroeck presents is valid and true. The piracy section, shows and tells about people who have made unlicensed CD’s, or DVD’s, and selling them to the public. The act of taking other peoples licensed work, without permission, is fraud and an act of copyright. It is against the law to copyright someone else’s work. It is a good idea to monitor your product, if you don’t want anyone to misuse your product.

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Introduction Post

Hello my name is Wane, I have chosen redshirtargonaut as my ID name for our class blog.

An argonaut is of course out of Greek mythology. They sailed on the Argo with Jason. I chose to be somewhat nerdy and humorous. Does anyone know what I mean by the term red shirt? Our instructor got it in one go. I will just give the answer. It’s from Star Trek. No I am not really a “Trekie” but I do enjoy Star Trek. Red Shirts tend to get killed off right away and well if you’ve read anything about Jason and the argonauts those poor guys dropped like flies. Just like the red shirts on Star Trek. A little about me. I am retired from the army. I am working on my BS in Science and yes I am attempting to major in  business administration but history(all kinds) will always be incredibly interesting to me as well many other things. My mind tends to wander a bit. Well that’s that I suppose. I hope I can keep up with all this. I will definitely ask questions if I get lost.

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My name is Lisa, and I am a nurse, working on my RN. I chose my blog name, because the definition of Panacea is a solution or remedy for all difficulties and diseases, based of Greek mythology. Panacea was the goddess of universal health. She was the daughter of Epione the goddess of healing pain or soothing.

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Hi my name is Trelynn.  I live in Utah and have for most of my life.  I am not terribly excited for the winter.  I love fall and watching the colors change on the trees but once the snow starts falling I’m not a fan.  I am a communications major and am excited to be one step closer to my goal with this class.

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