Monday, January 31, 2011

Unintentional Plagiarism

It's common knowledge that if you crib part or all of your paper from someone else, whether a fellow student, a web site or a published article or book, it's plagiarism. It's a serious violation of academic integrity and carries major penalties. Fortunately, it's very easy to avoid those penalties: don't cheat and you'll be fine!

However it's also possible to commit plagiarism unintentionally, and that can get you in trouble too. Unintentional plagiarism means that you didn't mean to cheat, but you still committed a violation of academic integrity by failing to acknowledge the sources of your ideas, or by being too dependent on someone else's ideas.
  • Forgetting to cite, citing incompletely, or citing the wrong source.
  • Paraphrasing without a citation. It's often said that if you put the other person's ideas into your own words, you don't need to cite. That's not true!!! You must cite, even if you didn't quote them word for word.
  • Relying too much on your source material, especially paraphrasing too much (even with citations.) Being overly dependent on another person's ideas means that your paper isn't original enough to satisfy the requirements of an academic assignment. This usually happens for one of two reasons, or a little of each: either you didn't have enough different sources, or you didn't include enough of your own analysis and interpretation.

If you are struggling with research and writing, there are a number of places to turn:
  • Ask a Librarian - a librarian can help you if you are having trouble finding resources and research materials on your topic. Librarians can also help you with questions about when and how to cite your sources!
  • Disability Services - if you know you have a learning disability or suspect you might.
  • English Language Learners (ESL) - if you have difficulty with English, go here.
  • SmarThinking - online tutoring, which includes help revising a paper.
  • Writing Resource Center - sample papers, explanations, exercises, and in-person help for every stage of the writing process.
  • your mentor/instructor - if you don't understand the assignment, need help choosing a topic, or want to know if you're on the right track.
Questions? Ask a Librarian

Monday, January 24, 2011

Video Resources

Are you looking for films, documentaries or video resources? The library has several resources for searching for these.

  • Films on Demand is a large database of educational videos and documentaries on every topic. You can link to a whole film, or just a segment of it, which makes it especially useful if you want to talk about it in a discussion group. There is quite a lot of material for business, nursing and science, as well as the social sciences and humanities.
  • American History in Video is another large database, and it's all films having to do with various American history topics. Most of it is old news reels and government archival footage; in other words, primary sources.
  • Counseling and Therapy in Video is a database of videos that explain and demonstrate various therapeutic concepts and techniques. What might be confusing to read becomes crystal clear when you watch it in action.
  • Ethnographic Video Online is a database of documentaries about anthropology and culture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video's worth is incalculable when it comes to understanding the diversity of the human experience.
To get to these video databases, go to the library web site at Click All Databases By Title and then click the Multimedia tab. They will be listed in the box at the top right. Beneath these ones, you will see a list of further video resources that may be useful to you!

Empire State College Library Research Blog
Questions? Ask a Librarian

Monday, January 17, 2011

African American Studies Resources

Today is the federal holiday marking the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential figures in modern history. We celebrate the life and achievements of an individual who turned the struggle for racial equality into a mass movement and made it front-page news. Institutional racism and the private prejudice remain problems to be solved, but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s movement produced legal protections and rights, and made strides toward making bigotry socially unacceptable.

In honor of this, here are some African American History resources.

Empire State College Library Research Blog
Questions? Ask a Librarian

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peace Studies Resources

Peace Studies is an interdisciplinary subject area that addresses both theory and practice, scholarly research as well as news and popular culture. As such, it can be hard to find research materials in this subject area. While the college does not have a Peace Studies program, many students in the Social Theory, Social Structure, and Social Change area of study are pursuing degrees that fall into that area. Community and Human Services also frequently has some areas of overlap.

Selected Web Sites
These web sites were chosen because they are the online presences of reputable organizations and institutions, who make their data, reports and analyses available.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Career Resources Guide

The college doesn't have a Career Center like most "brick-and-mortar" schools. What we do have are:
  1. Career Services from the Alumni Resource Center - includes job postings, resume help, and a career mentor service, and
  2. The Career Resources Guide from the library - a collection of carefully selected web and subscription resources that will help you in choosing a career, hunting for a job, improving the transferable "soft skills" that make you more employable, and crafting winning resumes and interviews.
Resources you will find in there include:
  • Vocational and Careers Collection - search for information about different job titles and industries
  • Ferguson Career Guidance Center - search for articles that cover everything from what to wear to an interview, to how to negotiate pay and benefits
  • Resume Builder - craft your resume and post it online. Resume Builder provides resume templates that give advice on formatting and word choice (action verbs!) You can also record a video interview and compile a portfolio of your work. All of it is sharable via Twitter and other social networking tools, and you have the option to make your profile visible to head hunters.
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