Friday, March 16, 2007

A Bit of Nostalgia for Old-Time Plagiarism

I was flipping through Afaf Lutfi Al-Sayyid Marsot's A Short History of Modern Egypt the other day. The first paragraph had some classic student notes next to it. A student had put a big square around the first paragraph that said, "Type First." Clearly, this student was stealing straight out of the book. There are sections throughout the book with "Type Second," "Type Third," etc. I laughed and laughed. It reminded me of the old days of plagiarism, when students would copy texts out of books that were absurdly beyond them and try to pass them as their own. The paragraphs put together don't actually make any kind of cohesive narrative.

Today, it's so different. The quality of plagiarism is so much less. Students just steal crap off the internet. So it's easier to pass off this low-grade stuff as your own, but it's also so easy to catch people! I personally like it when they leave the hyperlink in the paper.

Plagiarism. Fun for all!