Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Search smarter

Here is a nice blog post entitle How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques that covers suggestions from a Google employee on how to use their search engine for more targeted and precise searching. Many of these tips and tricks can be applied to your academic research! Often there is no need to search the entire web. To start, try limiting your searches to specific domains (.gov, .org, and .edu) and filetypes.

P.B.

Plagiarism: Here we go again

Politicians. When will they ever learn? You may recall from previous posts that plagiarism seems to be the norm in politics these days. Want further proof? According to the Boston Globe, Scott Brown lifted whole parts from an Elizabeth Dole speech given at the start of here 2002 campaign. And once again, we see an instance of brazen plagiarism being swept under the rug with excuses of ignorance and technical misshaps. What bothers this librarian the most, is that, “Oddly enough, some of Brown’s material was recently the object of plagiarism in June 2010 by a Tea Party Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina. William Randall was accused of lifting policy positions from Brown’s campaign website for use of his own.” You’d think they would of learned by now, huh? Remember folks, plagiarism is no quick fix, and it will catch up with you in the end!

Pass this on: Lessons from the telephone game

Remember the “telephone” game? Or maybe you called it “grapevine” back in the day? The game where one person starts with a phrase, tells it to the next person, and then he/she repeats it to the next person, and so on all the way down the line. And do you recall how almost inevitably the original phrase or message was corrupted once it reached the end of the line?

So why all this reminiscing of a childhood game? Well, “grapevine” or whatever you want to call it embodies a phenomenon that demonstrates some of the inherent pitfalls of human communication and our ability to recall accurately information we have heard, read, or seen. A prime example of this phenomenon is summarized in this article from Time Magazine: “After bin Laden’s Death, (Mostly) Fake MLK Quote Goes Viral”. What strikes me as most important about this example, and the game itself, is that despite honest intentions by all parties to communicate accurately the original message in its entirety, the more it is filtered, the more likely the message is to be corrupted and shaped by those who pass it on. Also apparent in this case is our willingness to attribute comments to a particular author, in part b/c they sound or feel like something the author would say. And might I add a third takeway, which is that the author of the original Facebook quote did not make it clear where her opinions ended, and where the quoted materials began. One would not expect such precision from a Facebook profile update, and by no means am I faulting the author of the Facebook post. But change scenarios, and think about such an occurence in a work place or academic setting. Such confusion would be very undesirable.

So beware of the telephone game as it applies to information on the internet. There is a reason why your instructors ask, or even require you to use primary sources or empirical research articles. These source types represent the origin of the information, the start of the telephone line. As a student researcher you want to seek out the original source, which in part allows you to contextualize and interpret the information on your own, without having to rely on others. Thankfully, in the digital age, it is easier than ever to trace back the flow of information, to work your way back up to the start of the telephone line. A good strategy is to use the list of references at the end of an academic journal article to go back and retrieve the original research publications.

P.B.

Plagiarism: not just a generational disconnect

A good article from the New York Times on the issue of plagiarism. Personally, I think the author focuses a bit too much on the generational differences that may account for what seems to be an observed increase in the number of plagiarism cases. However, take a look at the comments, and you will see other examples and anecdotes of plagiarism arising in adult professional work settings. The recent accusations of plagiarism against former CO congressman Scott McInnis is a good example.

So why is this important? Well, as the NYT article notes, the proliferation of the internet and digital media has brought us in to an era where laws, ethics, and cultural values pertaining to the use and distribution of copyrighted materials has become very murky. But as we’ve stated before on this blog, IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE. We’ve also tried to illustrate that plagiarism can have real academic and professional consequences, many of which can be avoided by simple taking a cautious approach and citing every sources you use. Don’t let the prospect of a few minutes extra work put you off, cite your sources, and if you are unsure how, contact the library’s reference desk for help.

P.B.

Going Green? Go to the library!

The Daily Green reminds us that libraries can help you go green! In addition to the great reasons listed in the article, here are a couple other green services from the Regis Library:

  1. full text online access to thousands of journals via the library databases means no commute, no paper, no waste, and no wait!
  2. Also, article requests using Loan Ranger for items not owned by the Regis Library are almost always delivered electronically as PDF files!
  3. Yes, we have music CDs and motion picture DVDs for you too!

P.B.

Peer Review in Five Minutes

The librarians at North Carolina State University have put together a nice video about the peer review process and what it means to you as a student. Give it a look below!

P.B.

Developing a good research question

Thinking of your research paper topics yet? Take a look at the following short tutorial: Developing a good research question. Your ability to focus on your topic and develop a strong thesis statement will help in the long run. Once you know the question(s) you need to answer, then you will be ready to conduct your research.

Pardon our mess…

Just a quick note that we’re making some changes to the blog categories in hopes of making them more useful and meaningful.  So pardon our mess as we reorganize and make improvements!

P.B.

If you think this is about library fines…

A little humor to start the Fall semester:

P.S. Did you know you can have your fines voided at Dayton Memorial Library if you provide a canned food donation!

Just another day at the library

Those crafty folks at Cornell came up with this amusing “old tyme” style library cartoon. I guess I’d be the shhhsh’ing moose!

P.B.



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