How to spot plagiarism – for editors

One of the many jobs of an editor is to be on the lookout for plagiarism. I don’t have a magic formula for spotting it, but I do have some tips that might help.

First off, what is plagiarism?

The dictionary definition goes like this:

“The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.”

From an editing point of view, it most often means that a text, or a piece of text, has been copied verbatim from someone else: in other words, they were not written by the person who claims to have written them.

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A simple guide to sharing and using Creative Commons pictures

Creative Commons licences are supposedly a simple way to share your creative works, or use those created by others. But the whole thing has become Byzantine in its complexity.

The Creative Commons website says the aim of project is this:

Use Creative Commons tools to help share your work. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give your permission to share and use your creative work— on conditions of your choice.

Note those words: “simple, standardized”. Yeah right. Continue reading

What are Google alerts – and why do you need them?

Google has been with us for decades now (yes, really – it was founded in 1998, according to Wikipedia) and it is now so much part of the fabric of our lives that it has become almost invisible.

As a company if is of course far from invisible – it is the one of the big five tech companies globally, and is in the news all the time for all sorts of reasons, both good and controversial. Continue reading

Twitter lists – a little-known work of wonder

I do love a list – so it’s no surprise that I love Twitter lists.

The fundamental problem with Twitter is that there is too much of it – and it can be toxic. Lists are a way to cut through the clutter and the awfulness.

Essentially, a Twitter list enables you to make a group of Twitter accounts and then see all the tweets from those accounts – without having to follow them and therefore create an increasingly unwieldy timeline. And the list will be people you chose to see – meaning you can create little bubbles that are personally useful to you, free of generalised nastiness.
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Three ways to save time by getting things done faster

We talk of saving time, as if it is money (which we also say). But what do we mean really? Often, what we mean is spending less time on things we don’t like or that are unimportant, so that we can spend more time on things we do like, or that are important.

In the bigger picture, that means thinking thinking systematically, and doing things systematically. There needs to be an understanding of what is important, and what isn’t, and a plan for working through those things. That’s the big picture thinking.
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Copyright: What it is, why it is important

Advert for my coaching businessOne of the trickiest things in online publishing is the question of copyright – especially with regard to photographs and other kinds of illustrations.

Collins Dictionary’s learner section has a simple way of defining copyright:

If someone has copyright on a piece of writing or music, it is illegal to reproduce or perform it without their permission.

Oxford (a premium version but here is the link) is a bit more complex:

The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.

In other words: someone, a real human being or beings, made something. It belongs to them and they have a right to be paid if you use it. Continue reading