Information types & formats 2: sources classified by closeness

From the first post:
There are three basic ways to divide information sources for academic purposes.  These are:
  1. sources classified by audience
  2. sources classified by closeness
  3. sources classified by quality measure

These divisions refer to non-fiction (with a few exceptions.)

Sources classified by closeness
The second way to classify academic sources is by closeness.  Closeness to what?  Closeness to the original event, original time period, original research, or original idea.
The two main types of sources classified by closeness are:
  1. primary
  2. secondary

This classification usually refers to non-fiction, but does occasionally include fiction (for example:  using a Greek play as a primary source for a history article.)

Primary sources are those that are closest to an original event,  original time, original research or original idea.


  • An eyewitness account in print, audio or video, including oral histories.
  • An original document such as letters, contracts, deeds, and even an early graphic novel written in Greek about the labors of Hercules.
  • A YouTube or news video shot by someone who was there (or by security cameras, CCTV, etc.)
  • Memoirs and autobiographies
  • A report on research written by the people who did the research, usually published as a journal article, but sometimes published as a monograph.
  • A news or documentary photograph
  • An object, such as a mummy (from the Louvre Museum, Paris), a painting, or an old car

Primary sources can be popular, scholarly or trade, but in history, they are often popular.

Adapted primary sources

Adaptations of primary sources include photographs and  reproductions of original objects, and translations from an original language.  Adapted primary sources provide access to primary sources such as paintings, mummies, manuscripts, statues, Greek inscriptions, and buildings that are inaccessible for a variety of reasons.

Adaptations usually count as a primary source, but check with your professor to be sure.
HOWEVER:  you must use adapted sources  produced by reputable groups such as museums, universities, respected publishers and so on.   For most undergraduate research, you can use Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons,  and Flickr Creative Commons for images IF the image includes source information and shows copyright information.  When using Creative commons, make sure you stay in the free section, and cite the image as the license requires.

Examples of adapted sources:

It’s still best to look at the original source if you can, because:
  • when you adapt or reproduce something, you change it
  • you can’t tell what the original is made of  or how it was made
  • in the case of photographs and 3-D objects, you can only see one side

Virtual reality techniques provide 3-D views, but still don’t capture information such as texture, ink composition, material, and rarely show pen marks, chisel marks, etc.

When using translations, either use critical editions or choose reputable publishers such as university presses and other academic publishers.  (In critical editions, the translator tells you why s/he made the choices s/he did in when translating the text.)
Secondary sources are further away from the original event,  time, research or idea.  They may be::

Primary & secondary works can be popular or scholarly or trade.


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Information types & formats 3: sources classified by quality measure

From post 1:

There are three basic ways to divide information sources for academic purposes.  These are:

  1. sources classified by audience
  2. sources classified by closeness
  3. sources classified by quality measure

These classifications refer to non-fiction.

Sources classified by quality measure:

  • Peer reviewed / Refereed
  • Edited
  • No determination

Peer reviewed & refereed

Peer Reviewed and referred mean essentially the same thing:
  • An article is submitted to a journal or a monograph to a book publisher.
  • The editor sends it out to a 2-3 anonymous reviewers making sure the author  is anonymous too.

    • In very specialized fields, reviewers & authors may know or guess each other’s names, but they’re still supposed to be objective.
  • The reviewers are experts in the article or book’s subject area.
  • They review the information and send back comments for the author.
  • The author fixes any problems and eventually the information is published.
  • Sometimes the problems are too severe to fix or the author chooses not to fix them and the information is not published.
The review of the information by other experts helps to ensure that most information in scholarly journals  or in monographs is of high quality.  In general, the process works well; however, it can sometimes  make it difficult for new ideas to get published.  Occasionally, bad information makes it into publication.  Often, this is because more recent information renders the older information useless. Sometimes, there is fraud on the part of the author.   Fortunately, this is rare.  If fraud or significant error is discovered,  the publisher retracts the article or book.  One famous example is the article that first claimed vaccines cause autism and bowel disease.  After numerous studies, no supporting evidence has been discovered.  What has been found is that the author fabricated data and was involved in a scheme to make money on testing for people bringing court cases.
With edited sources, an author turns in work to an editor, who then suggests changes if necessary.  Edited sources include journal, magazine & newspaper articles, and books.  Websites, newscasts and blogs often have editors as well.
  • An editor for a journal or magazine or newspaper or book looks over the information.
  • It may also be looked at by a fact checker, who makes sure the author’s claims are factually correct, and a copy editor who reviews for grammar, spelling, etc.
  • The information is published.
  • Usually, the review is not as rigorous as that done by peer reviewers or referees; however,  many edited sources are of excellent quality.  Often, editors are experts in a specific field.    Such articles in journals may be considered scholarly or academic, but not peer reviewed.  NOTE:  literature reviews, extended letters or editorials may fit into this category.
  • Researchers may have problems evaluating an edited source because it is difficult to judge the ability of the editor.
  • Most edited sources are popular. 
    • Exception:  books of essays by experts in the field can be scholarly or trade
No determination of quality
Often, especially on the web, there is no determination of the quality of an information source by outside experts, either peer reviewers, editors,  or other experts.   For example: many blogs and personal websites fall into this category.
 In some cases, editing is done, but it difficult to determine the quality of the editing from the information given.  Wikipedia is a good example.  Most articles are edited by whoever wants to do the edits.  The featured and good categories of articles do have higher standards of editing, but even in those two instances, you don’t know who the editors are or what their expertise is.

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Assignment #2 Information Ethics Oldmed1800


Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee accused of plagiarizing multiple budget proposals, October 22, 2018.

Tony Evers had plagiarized many different articles word for word. In some cases he would cancel out words or switch them out. Plagiarism is still plagiarism whether you change the words or not. His plagiarism dated back to 2012. He had plagiarized some facts sheets, where he only changed one word from the sheet.

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Assignment 2: Information Ethics kaiserwilhelm44


blippoblappo, and crushingbort. “TIPPING POINTS? MALCOLM GLADWELL COULD USE A FEW.” Our Bad Media, WordPress, 11 Dec. 2014,

This article “TIPPING POINTS? MALCOLM GLADWELL COULD USE A FEW” by authors @blippoblappo and @crushingbort show and explain the intricacies of plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of copying, using or stealing another’s work and claiming it your own. Malcolm Gladwell didn’t exactly do this, because he cited the pieces he used from others, but this doesn’t excuse him from plagiarizing. The work he used was not under public domain and he had received no permission to use the works he did. This incident gives a good example to the thin, but clear line you must walk when using other’s work.

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Assignment 2: Information Ethics kinghenrythefifth


“Happy Birthday” song officially recognized in public domain. CBS News. June 27, 2016.

This article is a perfect example of public domain. Public domain is intellectual property that belongs to the public and that can be used freely. However, no one can own the property because it belongs to the public. The “Happy Birthday” song is a widely used song in the public. Almost everyone experiences the song in their lifetime. Thus, the song should belong to the public. In 2016, it was added to the public domain to be freely used by anyone. Thus, it is the perfect example of public domain, intellectual property for the public.


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Assignment 2: Information Ethics by rosietheriveter576


Arushi Patel. Five Plagiarism Cases You Might Not Know About. Odyssey Website.

I chose this piece because it talks about Melania Trump and a speech she gave that was almost the exact same speech that Michelle Obama had given a couple years before. Trump tried saying that Melania had written the speech herself and that she wanted to do it with as little help from the official presidential authors as possible. However, in the end it seemed as though she had just found Michelle’s speech, changed some of the words, and tried to pass it off as her own. People already try to find as many negative things to say about the Trumps as possible and this was just the icing on the cake.

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Assignment 2: Information Ethics maximuspontifex

Laura Stampler. A Brief History of Shia LaBeouf Copying the Work of Others. TIME Magazine. February 10, 2014.


This source is a list of 14 times when the actor Shia LaBeouf was caught plagiarizing the work of others. The author Daniel Clowes was one of the victims of LaBeouf’s plagiarism as LaBeouf’s first ever short film “took the script and even many of the visuals” from one of Clowes’ stories. LaBeouf later apologized to Daniel Clowes in a public tweet from his personal twitter account.

Plagiarism is not something any artist wants to be known for. The number of times LaBeouf has been caught plagiarizing has caused his career to be in a steady state of decline. In fact, LaBeouf’s career has never been able to make a come back since his plagiarism scandals were brought to light.

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Assignment #2: Information Ethics historicallyanxious


By the CNN Wire Staff. A 2011 Investigation by British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds

 This article is excellent to show the damage that can be done with the falsification of evidence.  Dr. Wakefield tried to link autism to the MMR vaccine by falsifying his data and misrepresenting or altering the medical histories of the 12 children involved in the study.  Investigators show that Dr. Wakefield was receiving money from lawyers who were planning a lawsuit.  The investigation showed that five of the children studied had developmental problems before they received the vaccine and three children never actually had autism.  Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license and the BMJ retracted his study.

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Assignment 2 : Information Ethics , Cesarsalad1


Faul, Michelle, Seattletimes, Nigeria’s president apologizes for plagiarizing Obama Speech. September 17 ,2016.

This article talks about how Nigeria president plagiarized one of Obama speeches. It shows proof of lines he copy from Obama speech. Even some lines of his speech were identical to Obamas. This articles shows that you that you can’t get away with plagiarism because in the end it bites you in the butt. The president of Nigeria embarrassed himself and had to apologize to the public. If you are going to steal other people words you need to cite then and use sources so you can use there material for your own work.





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Assignment 2: Information Ethics by elor101 (PLAGIARISM)

This youtube video shows great examples on how to avoid plagiarism. Professor Andrew Young, the creator of this video explains different ways on how can people accidentally fall into plagiarism. One of the examples given is that plagiarism can be a really serious offense and some can end up in jail. Like example artist plagiarism other artists songs. This can end up in a lawsuit from the original artist. Meanwhile in school some of the offenses can be failing the assignment, class or even suspension from the school. At the end it gives a really good presentation on how to avoid this by using the right tools like citations and understanding the expectations of the assignment and understanding things we need to be aware of while doing the assignment.

Andrew Young. Plagiarism: Lesson One. October 22, 2018.

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