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Librarians cited by WriteCite.com

No imitators at Internet Librarian International 2010

Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) once wrote ‘imitation is the sincerest of flattery’. In the knowledge economy, where information is currency, there is nothing sincere about imitation. In academic circles, the intentional and unattributed imitation of information is considered a form of theft known as plagiarism.

With the proliferation of the internet, the practice of recording and verifying sources of information, known as referencing or indexing, is rapidly becoming a critically important skill. Beyond its academic origins, commercial decision making relies on quality information that can only be verified with the use of proper referencing.

The internet has expanded what can be referenced and how sources are referenced too. The sheer breadth of available source types constantly challenges educators and their students according Michael Hargreaves, the founder of the online referencing website WriteCite.com. Hargreaves, who holds a research masters degree and lectures part-time at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, explains the challenges and foresees a bridging role for librarians.

One reason that referencing challenges educators and their students is their different focus. Academic research writing is typically more disciplined and more narrowly scoped than student assignment writing, says Hargreaves. Whereas academic researchers and educators commonly database their sources for repeated retrieval this practice is far less common amongst students at undergraduate or associate degree level, Hargreaves explained.

WriteCite.com doesn’t seek to change the habits of its intended student audience, rather WriteCite.com works with the typical practice of students who leave the writing of reference lists and bibliographies to the last task before submitting an assignment. The internet reinforces today’s learners expectations for immediacy and WriteCite.com is purposefully designed to cater for this expectation while teaching students how to reference according to its founder.

Hargreaves also foresees that the role of librarians will continue to expand as a direct consequence of the internet. For this reason, WriteCite.com will exhibit at this year’s Internet Librarian International Conference to be held in London on October 14-15.

WriteCite.com is an exciting proposition for librarians who are the custodians and educators of a learning institution or organisation’s referencing styles says Hargreaves. WriteCite.com, which works on all the major web browsers and supporting computer platforms, can be integrated with the online style manuals that many university libraries publish for their students as well as for corporate and government libraries, confirmed Hargreaves.

In the lead up to the Internet Librarian International Conference, librarians can trial WriteCite.com by visiting www.writecite.com/internetlibrarian. To directly enquire about WriteCite.com, contact Michael Hargreaves at michaelh@writecite.com.