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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stormy Weather

Lena Horne is gone at 92.

Singer, dancer, entertainer, actor and a part of everyone's lives in her and the generations that follow. KCRW began it's set this morning with "You won't forget me although you try. I am full of memories too hard to die."

The Washington Post.

AP coverage in the Review Journal.

The Wrap.

"My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I'm free. I no longer have to be a 'credit.' I don't have to be a symbol to anybody; I don't have to be a first to anybody. I don't have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I'd become. I'm me, and I'm like nobody else." 

Lena Horne, 1917-2010.


Plagerism is more than simply using some else's words. It is using their intellectual property, their concepts and ideas without attributing them properly.

Plagerism is theft.

For that reason most schools, including the College of Southern Nevada, reserve the right to take any action up to expulsion against any student for plagerism.

In our society, with cut and paste, free on-line summaries and even speeches, the temptation to plagiarize is greater than ever.

The potential to do so without meaning to is also great, as many of us do it without knowing or thinking in every day life.

However in school, business or any form or performance there is no excuse. You cannot simply say "I didn't mean to."

Plagiarism Information

Written by Dr. Timothy James, Department of Communication, Community College of Southern Nevada

Any time you obtain ideas and information from someone else, you should give that person, group, organization, or publication its due credit. This is called “giving attribution” (or “citing” your sources). Plagiarism occurs when you present someone else’s ideas or information without making it clear that you obtained these from someone else (hence, making it appear as if the work is your own). That is to say, you fail to give proper attribution.

In this class, if it is deemed that you have plagiarized, you will receive an “F” for the course, NO EXCEPTIONS. More severe penalties may also be applied.

Students often mistakenly plagiarize in both speeches and papers (or other projects involving “research”).  Be careful not to make any of the following common mistakes:

(1) You can plagiarize if you use a direct, word-for-word quotation and never indicate the source of that quote. In a speech, you should state to your audience that you are quoting directly. In a paper, either use quotation marks or a block paragraph and include the proper attribution. (See, e.g., the MLA Stylesheet.)

(2) You can plagiarize even if you modify a direct, word-for-word quotation and never indicate the source of that near-quote. For instance, I once had a student who believed that if you simply changed about every 6th word in a quote, it was not plagiarism. That’s not true. Either use a direct, word-for-word quote (with proper attribution), or paraphrase the quote (that is, restate it in your own words - but still give attribution; see #3 below).

(3) You can plagiarize by presenting your own ideas and conclusions (or “points” you wish to make) and failing to identify the source(s) that inspired your ideas and conclusions. You would not have reached these ideas and conclusions without having read through various sources of information; hence, give credit where it is due. For instance, perhaps you’re claiming that “gun control will reduce school violence.” If you use a statistic to back that up, identify the source of that statistic. In a speech, this will mean you frequently say something like “according to . . .” In a paper, you typically identify your source immediately after providing the information you obtained from that source.

(4) You can plagiarize if nearly half (or more) of your speech or paper consists of direct quotes (or even moderately paraphrased quotes). Instructors or professors who assign research projects expect that the majority of the project will be you expressing what you’ve learned in your words. Use quotes or paraphrases by others as evidence that shows you’ve gone to other sources, and use these also to provide details and illustrations for your points. Using too much material directly from your sources raises the question: Who, actually, wrote your speech or paper?

You should always check with your instructor or professor to see if he/she requires a particular style book (MLA and APA are the most common). Refer to the rules in these style books always; this is your best bet for avoiding plagiarism problems.

In addition, check to see if the campus of your choice has a Writing Center. The Writing Center staff is more than happy to work with you regarding plagiarism, writing problems, etc. They can check your work or provide other useful information that can help you before you turn in your assignments.