07 January 2010

Some New Links and a Rant

I have been working on my photography skills since I bought my new camera and I’ve decided that one way to do that is to join Project 365. I’ve committed to taking at least one photo every day for a year. My year started on January 2, when I first read about this project over at Dine and Dish.

I’ve posted a link to my project photos in the column on the right -> ->, just under the list of followers. Here's today's photo:

Several people have also asked about my paintings recently. I’ve posted a link to my paintings as well. Maybe this will motivate me to update my website with some more recent paintings...

Meanwhile, here’s my friend Lori:

Now for the less pleasant stuff.

WARNING -- Rant follows:

Many years ago, when I was a brand new college professor, I assigned my class of seniors a term paper. This was before we had the internet and could buy term papers. Back when students actually had to write them. Well, in theory.

As I was spending a beautiful sunny Saturday grading these term papers, I came on one that simultaneously made me laugh out loud and made my blood run cold. Not an easy thing to do, if you think about it. It made my blood run cold because it was a paper that I had written when I was in grad school. (I am not making this up.) It made me laugh out loud because I wondered if the student who gave it to me was really that stupid or if they just thought I was.


It’s an ugly word. It’s an ugly thing. Maybe it is my academic training, but I have to say that plagarism ranks right up there with shoplifting on my list of things I hate to see. Or to write about, to be honest. But both of them exist whether I want to see them or not. In fact, they’re remarkably similar things.

The Oxford English Dictionary (iPhone version) defines plagarism as ‘taking the work or idea of someone else and passing it off as one’s own’. The work can be a photograph, it can be a painting, it can be a paragraph. It’s all plagarism. It’s all stealing.

It’s a shock to see your work claimed by someone else, to see words you sweated over or a photo you worked on for hours or a painting you spent days on with someone else’s name on it. To see someone else take credit for your work.

My community of artists has discussions about this subject all the time. Plagarism and copyright violation. They’re important issues and the internet has made both of them easier to do. This is something that serious artists take seriously. Writers too.

I’m fairly new to blogging, having been at it not quite 6 months. One thing that that's clear to me, though, is that the bloggers I read and respect are scrupulous about citing their sources. Many even provide links to the original documents. It’s one of the things I appreciate about the bloggers I follow.

Recently I was reading a new blog I’d just discovered. It’s a lovely blog, with of lots of informative posts. I love learning new things, so I was happy to have found this blog. One post was so interesting that I wanted to know even more about the subject, so I went to Wikipedia. To my surprise, I read the exact same information that I had found on the blog I had been reading. Word for word. Some of the same photographs too. I went back to the blog to see if I had missed the citation. Nope. None there. I looked back at past posts and found the same thing.

Plagarism. Stealing. That’s one less blog I now read.

Rant over.


Lizzy said...

Wow Kate! What a crazy story! I mean, your paper? What are the odds? That student had some bad karma coming their way haha!

Kate at Serendipity said...

LOL Lizzy, the dean of students thought it was funny too--he called me laughing and asked if I was trying to put on over on him! But it's a true story...

La Table De Nana said...

I have heard of that project:) And what a lovely painting!!Looks like you captured her "air" I like that!
What did you do about le voleur?!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I can't believe a student would copy your work and submit it to bizarre and stupid. Lovely picture of your friend Lori.

Bob said...

Ok, that term paper story is just hilarious. I hope the student had the good grace to be suitably embarrassed!

I think because I spend so much time reading science/politics blogs, I cite without thinking. I expect that if I don't someone will catch it and my whole point will be ignored! Heh.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I always link info if I get it from other sources, but I have been known to use google images pretty freely in the past.

Is that uncouth?

Kathy said...

Kate! Who-hoo girl...I would have given $ just to have seen your face as your fingers were flying over the keyboards typing this post out!...It is sad..the paper..and taking credit where credit is NOT due.
Plagarism is pretty widely spread on the net, you just hate to see it on your favorite blogs...
Go ahead and rant girl...Your one of the few who can do it intelligently!

Compliment over...
xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Kate at Serendipity said...

Monique, you've said the magic words about my painting. I try to capture the personality of the person. With Lori, I had to capture lively, colorful one. All the colors on my palette are in her hair... As for la voleuse, I wrote on the paper, "this is very well written, very well researched. When I wrote it, I got an A. You, however, need to see me". Incredibly, she denied it. I just sent it to the dean of students and let him deal with her. The problem was that he thought it was all a joke. In the end, I think it went into all our 'best stories' bag.

Sam, she found the paper without the cover sheet, and she didn't actually realize that I had written it. That's another story...

Bob, no! She denied it! When I gave 'her' paper back to her and then recited the first two paragraphs from memory she STILL denied it. Sigh...

Amber, check the copyright info on google images. I would bet money that you'd need to at least cite the original source.

Kathy, LOL! I think the fly on the wall had his ears burned off! Thanks for the compliment.

zurin said...

What a story about the paper! quite bizzare and what are the odds that It wld come to you! but it did!

and you are an artist! beautiful painting!

kate said...

I'm doing P365 too, and am really loving it. There is a Flickr group for it, and another for food bloggers doing P365. I also set up a separate blog for it

I look forward to seeing what your camera shows you!!

Hungry Dog said...

Wow, how disappointing. Oh least there are tons of other great blogs out there.

You are an incredible painter! I'm looking forward to checking out more of your art work. Gee, Kate: write/photograph/paint/cook--is there anything you can't do?! :)

Happy weekend!
Hungry Dog

Kitchen Butterfly said...

OMW - shock!!!!! At the plagiarism. Understand why some may be tempted but.....anyway, the truth will always out so....

Then painting. That's news to me. You paint???????????? Wow.

I'm also thinking of doing P365 and making a blurb book at the end of the year but I'm a few days too late. Think I'll start tomorrow.

The Gypsy Chef said...

I, like Hungry Dog wonder what you can't do!
The painting is beautiful. There are so many things to read in her face. Is she as sweet as she looks?
I can't wait to check out your other paintings.
I am also going to check out the P365 too. Sounds likes it's something I would enjoy. I'm taking a digital photography class and a photoshop class this spring. This will fit in nicely.
I'm glad your ranting. I once found one of my pics on another blog with no citation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting one of your paintings - I love it! You dealt with the light so beautifully. Even with the broad brush strokes, Lori's face looks so soft. WOW!

Crazy story about plagiarism. About Wikibloggergate, do you think the blogger felt good about the use of their time? Do you think they felt they added to the world? How sad.

Melanie said...

I always wonder if people cite things they pull off wikipedia. I can't say that I always do, although I do make it evident by the formatting that it's from another source (and I usually say something like "From Wikipedia") and not my own writing.

Did the person maybe write the wikipedia entry, and that's why they didn't cite it?

Anyway. I used a definition from Wikipedia today on my cooking blog, so it's funny that I should run across this because I did spend some time thinking about what the proper format for something like that would be.

Jennifer said...

I love this - I'm a PhD candidate and an adjunct professor, and so many people just don't get it. I am concerned about plagiarism now that I have my own blog, too. Here I have one more blog that I DO follow!