Saturday, July 06, 2013

Is there such a thing as ethical plagiarism?

DearREADERS,



The antenna went up when I read the following comment to Barry Ewell's Lessons Learned #50: Church Records Research Insight where Mark Andrew Davis comments 12 hours ago publicly: "Wow, this list look like it's verbatim from Terry Willard's study guide from the old PBS Ancestors TV Show (yes, I bought the book). In fact, just checking the pages and the information is identical. Hopefully you're not using the information without the Willard's, PBS and the Publisher's permission, but I don't see any indication on your posting what the source is and what permissions you have." 

EXAMPLE #1:

IMAGE:
“ Barry’s Lessons Learned #50: Church Records Research Insight.”
Barry Ewell Facebook Fan Page, 27 June 2013. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=466799326700942&set=a.418756651505210.85472.406378449409697&type=1 : accessed 6 July 2013).


Genealogists worth their salt always question the reliability of a statement by checking sources.


EXAMPLE 2:    How would you rate the following text posted 6 July 2013 by Barry Ewell on his Facebook fan page created 29 January? 


IMAGE:
“ Barry’s Lessons Learned #53: Civil Vital Records Research Insight.”
Barry Ewell Facebook Fan Page, 6 July 2013. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=466802990033909&set=a.418756651505210.85472.406378449409697&type=1 : accessed 6 July 2013).

Compare this to the transcript of this 1997 Brigham Young University Ancestors television segment:

“It is important to know that vital records searches are most useful for finding relatively recent information. With some exceptions, most U.S. states did not assume legal responsibility for vital records until around the turn of the last century. The first to start keeping vital records was Massachusetts in 1841 and the last was New Mexico in 1920.”

IMAGE: Cyndi Howells, interview.  Brigham Young University Broadcast Services, Ancestors,
circa January 1997, segment transcript and video clip by BYU Broadcast Services
(http://www.byub.org/ancestors/records/vital/intro.html : accessed 6 July 2013).


Text posted by Barry Ewell 2013
Transcript from the Ancestors video clip 1997
It is important to know that vital record searches are most useful for finding relatively recent information. Most US states did not assume legal responsibility for vital records until around 1900. The first state to start keeping vital records was Massachusetts in 1841, and the last was New Mexico in 1920.
It is important to know that vital records searches are most useful for finding relatively recent information. With some exceptions, most U.S. states did not assume legal responsibility for vital records until around the turn of the last century. The first to start keeping vital records was Massachusetts in 1841 and the last was New Mexico in 1920.
Source:
“ Barry’s Lessons Learned #53: Civil Vital Records Research Insight.” Barry Ewell Facebook Fan Page, 6 July 2013. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=466802990033909&set=a.418756651505210.85472.406378449409697&type=1 : accessed 6 July 2013).
Source:
Cyndi Howells, interview.  Brigham Young University Broadcast Services, Ancestors, circa January 1997, segment transcript and video clip by BYU Broadcast Services (http://www.byub.org/ancestors/records/vital/intro.html : accessed 6 July 2013).


As Ol' Myrt here considers these comparisons, I’ve turned to Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 15: Plagiarism―Five "Copywrongs" of Historical Writing,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-15-plagiarism%E2%80%94five-copywrongs-historical-writing: accessed 6 July 2013).

DearMYRTLE has not communicated with any of the parties involved, but I find such recognizable unsourced quotes unsettling.
 

We each must draw our own conclusions.


Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
DearMYRTLE,
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