Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Word of Warning to Students--and Faculty

Plagiarism, Education, and Information Security

Julie J.C.H. Ryan
George Washington University
Sept./Oct. 2007

"From 1997 to 2002, I caught an average of 18 percent of the students in my graduate-level information security classes plagiarizing large portions of papers (some copied in full) and turning them in as class assignments. This doesn’t include students who plagiarized small portions of papers or who were guilty of plagiarism by paraphrasing. Since 2002, the percentage has declined and the style of plagiarism has changed. At first blush, it appears to be an encouraging trend, but students’ attitudes and opinions haven’t changed much at all. On the contrary, very few students actually appreciate the need for academic integrity, specifically in writing, whereas the pervasive attitude appears to be that the checks performed on papers is simply a game—indeed, it’s one that many feel they can play successfully."

Full Text of the article

See also:
For Faculty
For Students

Thursday, October 04, 2007

HotDocs from Paula Webb

This is the debut HotDocs posting for our new Gov. Docs librarian. Check it out. I really like Paula's use of to create a linkable bibliography. is probably the web application that I use the most to keep track of my favorite websites.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ghosting the Research--A Warning

It is truly hard to be a librarian these days. Skepticism about information can so easily turn into cynicism. I've read about this problem before--pharmaceutical company shills writing articles and getting researchers to front them. But here is another article proving that this is not just an aberration, but a common practice. Can I really tell students to use our medical databases, because they carry more reliable information than the public web? Not sure anymore.

These abbreviations will help you understand the article:
CHC, Complete Healthcare Communications;
CMD, Current Medical Directions;
CRO, contract research organization;
MECC, medical education and communication company

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Writing OutReach--Finding Books

Tomorrow, Thurs. Sept27th
Writing Outreach
Library Auditorium
Finding Books for Your Research

This is the first session of two on Finding Information Sources. This one concentrates on finding books. I know, everyone want to get full text online and books seem to mean that you have to actually come into the library (what a hassle!), find the call number(a mystery code), find the actual book in the stacks(confusing as heck) and then, heaven forbid, check it out at the Circ desk(student id needed).

Let me assure you that using books is worth all the effort you have to put into acquiring them. AAAANNNNNNDDDDD, there are some excellent books online. You just have to know where to look. Most books fall under copyright restrictions so most of the books online are at least 75 years old. Though not all. The library subscribes to some online books and there are some great websites that offer copyleft books.

Come to the session and let me show you a few tricks of the trade (Yes, librarians are full of tricks. What a wonderful profession.). JS

PS. If you need a tickie to prove to your instructor that you actually attended, come up after the session and I will give you one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Localizing Google Scholar

I'm encountering more students and faculty who have discovered Google Scholar. Google Scholar is Google's attempt at creating a database of relevant information about scholarly books and articles. Those books and articles that have free full-text on the web can be linked to directly. The problem arises when the article is from a publisher who holds the copyright and only wants to allow subscribers ($$$ paid)to have access to these articles. If you are a faculty, staff or student at South Alabama you MAY have access to these articles IF the library subscribes to the journal. But you have to make your association clear to Google.
On the homepage of Google Scholar to the right of the search box click on the words "Scholar Preferences." In about the middle of the page that comes up enter "University of South Alabama" next to the words Library Links.

Click on the words "Find Library." A line with our schools name will show up below this box. Check the box in front of our name. Now Google Scholar will let you know which of the journals we subscribe to by indicating "USA eText" next to the citations returned. Click on "USA eText." On the next screen pick a USA Library subscription database through which you can access the article.

Google has not, or will not, let us know which publishers are included in this "database." Your best bet for a thorough search on your topic is to use the library databases. Sure, supplement with Google Scholar, but be aware that much more may be available through the library's subscriptions to databases and online journals. Limiting yourself to only one tool is never a good idea. Talk to your librarians about where you might go to find the best info on your chosen topic.