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Where Credit’s Due

With so much excellent writing accessible online, it’s easy to find inspiration for new posts from other bloggers, writers, and…

With so much excellent writing accessible online, it’s easy to find inspiration for new posts from other bloggers, writers, and digital publishers. Yet because internet-based content can feel a bit intangible, it’s difficult to know when and how to cite our sources. But giving credit where credit is due is the best way to help foster an active and respectful blogging community. So what are the general guidelines?

While there isn’t a strict set of guidelines on how to cite your sources, citing is necessary anytime someone else’s work is quoted or published. Fair Use is a general guideline for knowing when you need to cite the work or ask for permission from the author. Very simply speaking, an example of Fair Use would be quoting an article to help prove a point in a critical blog post you’re writing.

Regardless of what’s “required,” it’s also polite to link back to the author’s original work. This makes it clear that you’re not claiming that you created it yourself, while also helping to broaden the audience for the original poster. Linking is the virtual equivalent of a bibliography – it gives credit to the work of the original authors and helps to build the blogging community by creating connections between writers. A good example of how to do this is the reblog feature on WordPress.com, where a short excerpt of the post, a link to the original article, and your own commentary on it is automatically displayed. Not only do you get to share some awesome information on your site, but you get to lend a hand to the original author by properly attributing their work.

Conversely, you may find that someone wants to use one of your blog posts on their site. For your own work, it’s good to add a copyright notice to the bottom of your blog in a text widget. If you’re using your own art, music, or video productions on your site, you may even be interested in alternative licensing options. For example, Creative Commons licensing allows others to use your work, but with some usage and attribution requirements.

Properly attributing work is easy to do, and the right thing to do. By always linking back to your original resources, you’re making sure that someone is getting acknowledged for their hard work and contributing to a respectful blogging etiquette.

21 Comments

  1. I think that the Reblog function is great, but is there a way to prevent someone from “reblogging” you? There may be a time when a blog that doesn’t represent my interests or standards uses my material in a reblog – and I don’t want it to be there. What should I do in that case?

    1. Currently, there isn’t a way to turn off the Reblog feature. Since anyone may link to your blog posts if your site is public, if you find that your writing has been included on someone else’s site, you may consider contacting them about it.

  2. Timely reminder. I have a copyright notice close to the top of my sidebar, rather than a footer.

    I’m of two minds about the reblog feature – I have used it about three times, but I’m not sure I really approve of it, especially when I see blogs that are themselves totally made up of reblogged work.

  3. In a world of Google, it is a temptation to use cut and paste as a writing tool. Old school journalists, like my father, could lose their jobs if they did not properly attribute their sources. In this new age, it seems the mark of a professional writer to acknowledge the source. Standards and professional courtesy should always be the hallmark. Tough sometimes in the vast online world but places like Creative Commons are good resources for finding safe, usable information.
    If you can re-tweet why not re-blog? Good points to keep us on task.

  4. Erica, Thanks for the valuable inforamtion regarding protecting our creations and respecting those of other bloggers.

    My two cents about reblogging – I think it is somethng to be done with discretion. I’ve done it about 2 or 3 times and like to contact the author in advance to ask if it’s okay. I’m careful to give credit and usually a couple of opps within the post to link back to the original. I use the reblog feature and simply post just the title (linkable) of the post I am reblogging. I write a sentence, maybe two, stating that I found this on XYZ (linkable) and summarize what it’s about. I’m not sure if that is exactly reblogging, but I don’t feel like I am just cutting and pasting a creation of someone else in its entirety.

    In fact, I did one earlier today on my fledgling blog http://couponclippingforfreestuff.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/rite-aid-25¢-dove-chocolate-bars-through-42912/. It would be great if anyone has a moment to take a look at the post and tell me if you think it is to be considered as reblogging.

    TY

    1. I think it’s a good habit to be mindful of reblogging. It’s great that you contact the authors as well – it’s a nice way to build connections.

    1. so Thank you Erica for this very helpful inf ..i think is better now..i will try to be more complet in my comment ..for you B..thank very much you help me.

  5. This is a good topic. A few points; if you want to remain in good standing in the world you should always give credit to where you got your information. In the educational realm, not doing so is plagiarism (cheating). Second, once you have posted something it is “OUT” there open to all. And since not everyone will worry about good manners or good ethics you are at the will of the universe. Copyrights are great but they don’t mean anything to someone who shows no respect for others work. If you choose to come out here and play you should remember the rules of the road. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice. Be safe. Be safe. Be safe.

  6. Estoy completamente de acuerdo con usted Erica V.

    Para mi es obligatorio citar las fuentes y vincularlas con la obra original del autor, pero no
    debemos olvidar que vivimos en un mundo donde casi todo ya está escrito y, que no existe
    nada nuevo bajo el sol. Es por eso que, muchas de las frases, parrafos, expresiones etc.
    coinciden con trabajos de los autores originales.

    Para este comentario tomo mi propio ejemplo: EscribÍ una carta a mi pequeñita hija, quien
    quizá algún dia leerá (el blog es EL MUNDO MAGICO DE CHLOE SOPHIA) pero la idea ni
    siquiera surge después de leer lo publicado por un escritor muy conocido, porque ya estaba
    en mi mente desde antes.
    Tomé la estructura de su artículo semanal en un diario local y fuí contruyendo la carta, mas
    cuando la terminé no podía asegurar si lo por mi escrito se parecía a lo por él escrito, tampoco me tomé el trabajo de reelerlo; así que opte por agregar al final de mi carta una nota que dice así:

    Nota: Jaime Bayly conocerá que partes de la estructura de esta nota (cuales, no lo sé) han
    sido tomadas de su artículo El Triunfo de la Libertad de su columna UN HOMBRE EN LA
    LUNA, de lo cual no disiento.
    Coincidentemente tenemos una hija, (with, of course not.) la de él se llama Zoe y la mía Chloe.
    Ambas nacieron cerca a la misma fecha. También coincidentemente somos padres de dos hermosas mujeres. ¿Cree usted que las coincidencias ocurran?.

  7. I believe that in this community it is important that we are respectful of others’ creativity. One can only wish that all respect our work and do not use it as their own.

  8. Es de honestos reconocer y respetar el trabajo de otra persona. Por desidia o indiferencia no siempre lo hacen. Insistir y recordarlo constantemente, podría crear este buen hábito. Respeto mutuo.

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