I am an educational blogger and I also teach academic English at various universities in the UK. I am now blogging, here, about more general topics like planning, beauty and fun girlie stuff. I have become a member of many blogging/bloggers’ groups and have been connecting with people who blog (but are not educational bloggers). An interesting question popped up by a blogger called Victoria in a Blogging Boost group Facebook group. She shared an article about plagiarism and asked what other bloggers consider plagiarism and how they avoid it. I realised, after browsing through various blogs, that some bloggers do not acknowledge sources or give picture credits, but why?
This may be happening for two reasons:
- They are using only their own material and pictures.
- They are just not acknowledging other people’s work and using it in their blog posts (plagiarism happening intentionally or unintentionally).
But, if you are getting ideas/pictures/videos from other people and not acknowledging them, and now I am going to go into teacher mode, it is an offence, and you could in small or bigger trouble for it!! Oh! Let’s not get into using someone else’s work and making money from it or let’s do, remember this song?
They have lost all the rights to this song, cause it is a plagiarised rolling stones song (www.rollingstones.com).
Things to think about
What is plagiarism?
The verb plagiarise means:
To use to use another person’s ideas or work and pretend that it is your own
In simple words, anything you find someone else and publish on your website (texts, pictures and videos) and you do not acknowledge where you found it.
What is not plagiarism?
Common knowledge: E.g. People use computers, Brad left Jennifer and married Angelina.
So, am I plagiarising if I…
- Use Google pics and say I found this on google pics?
Yes! ( you need to find who took the picture!)
- Read something, somewhere, and then write my own stuff based on it?
Yes (say who inspired you/why you are writing this, based on what?).
- Paraphrase or summarise something so technically not using someone else’s words? I am using my own so now they are my words…..
Yeap!! (You still have to acknowledge if you have read something somewhere).
- Find a cool quote somewhere, use the exact same words, but no source/author?
- Read something on Wikipediaand I remember it?
Yes (Keep in mind though that the information you find on Wikipedia is not reviewed, so you cannot really know if it is true. People who write on Wikipedia are just like me and you).
- Copy a whole text with the same or similar words/structures, but do mention the author?
Yes (unless you use quotation marks,if you are, then no).
How can I see if I am plagiarism something?
There are loads of plagiarism detecting software available, but the easiest thing to do is to put your text into Google, if it pops up, then you are plagiarising!
How do I acknowledge people/ pictures?
These are my suggestions and how I try to avoid plagiarism.
If I find something on a blog/website, I put the website in brackets and add the link in the brackets (example the Cambridge dictionary which I linked earlier). If I am using information from a book, I add a reference list ( teacher mode: reference list goes in alphabetical order).
If I use a picture, I add the name of the person who took it under the picture. If I do not know the name, and it is just a website I say picture is taken from http://www.xyz……….com. (BUT I do not use other people’s pictures if I cannot give them credit: teacher mode)
* By the way, try to write down everything correctly, try not to change people’s names!!Also, if you are going to use a picture maybe you should check the host’s website and see if there are copyright restrictions or a license on their website that prohibits it. You need to email and ask for permission to use the pictures!
So, I know how I am going to avoid plagiarism, but how do I stop others from stealing my ideas/pictures?
Well, there is not much you can do in today’s day and age. Everything is public, people have access to what you share online. I have added a creative commons license to my sidebar just to show that I do want my stuff to be acknowledged. You can find the link to creative commons here.
You do not have to go crazy and start worrying about referencing systems and all that (you are blogging, not submitting your paper to Harvard) but do make sure that you mention people when you are using their stuff. It is the best way to go and it shows respect.
Hope you like this blogging tip. If you want more information read this article shared by Victoria on the Blogging boost Facebook page. I have posted another post about blogging etiquette and bits and bobs you might also want to check out. You can find it here
So that’s all folks. Feel free to leave a comment below. Sorry for the teacher mode!! I hope you found some of my suggestions thoughts helpful. Don’t forget to ‘follow’ this blog if you like what you read.