Resources about Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?  The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary provides this clear definition of the verb to plagiarize:

  • to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one's own; 
  • to use another's production without crediting the source;
  • to commit literary theft;  
  • to present as new an original idea or product derived from an existing source.

    -- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

The words "steal" and "theft" seem harsh, but they accurately describe plagiarism.  Just as stealing money or a car is a crime, presenting ideas or words as if they were your own is a crime.

Some plagiarism is intentional.  For example, a student who buys a paper from an internet site and hands it in knows clearly that this is cheating.  Often, however, plagiarism is committed accidentally.  Whether intentional or accidental, plagiarism is a serious offense, and the writer is responsible.  

To learn more about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, visit the links provided below. provides straightforward information about plagiarism.  From the homepage, check out these links:  Plagiarism 101, Citing Sources, Ask the Experts, and Resources.

You Quote It, You Note It! is a short slide show produced by Vaughan Memorial Library at Acadia University in Canada.  It not only defines plagiarism but also includes easy to understand examples of what constitutes this academic cheating.

If you have concerns about plagiarism while you are working on a course assignment, talk to your professor or make an appointment with a consultant in Bierce Writing Commons.  Be proactive to avoid accidental plagiarism.

Purdue OWL defines plagiarism, looks at best practices and strategies for research, and includes a practice exercise that demonstrates appropriate ways to incorporate outside sources.