“The Little Book of Plagiarism”

This week’s news about New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claiming words that belonged to a blogger as her own unsettled me. In this fast-paced blogging, twittering, emailing world of writing and information exchange, all of us could inadvertently cross the line.

Plagiarism is not simply about copying words, but also about copying ideas and expressions and the medium in which it occurs.

Richard A. Posner’s The Little Book of Plagiarism landed on my reference bookshelf a year ago because plagiarism was in the news then, too.  I bought the book to understand what plagiarism means today. As Posner writes, “its boundaries are becoming vague and contested.” He also writes, “digitization has made it at once easier to commit and easier to detect.”

I recommend this small book for everyone’s reference bookshelf, a mere $10.95 in its small hardbound form and worth every penny. It’s good stuff to know plus fascinating to read.