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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

On the "Google Copy Paste Syndrome"

Hermann Maurer, Graz University of Technology, writes:

But there is also an important consequence affecting our whole knowledge production and reception system on a more socio-cultural level: After googling a technical or common term, a name or a phrase or whatever, especially the younger generation tends to operate with the found text segments in a categorically different way than the generation of the Gutenberg Galaxy did: While the print generation tended towards structuring a topic and writing a text by themselves, the new “Generation Google” or “Generation Wikipedia” is rather working like “Google Jockeys” [N. N. 2006a] or “Text Jockeys” [Weber 2007f]: They approach text segments in a totally different manner then the printsocialised generation. Text segments found on the web are often appropriated despite their clearly claimed authorship or despite their clearly communicated copyright restrictions because they are seen as “free” and/or “highly reliable”. One often hears persons accused of net plagiarism justifying themselves: “But it’s already written on the web – why should I put it in new words anyway?”. See the quite disenchanting example in [Weber 2007a, 4] The new generation of text jockeys starting with googling key terms or phrases tends to cut and paste found information of the search engine’s result list directly into their document and claim a new authorship from now on. Of course plagiarism also occurred in the print era (as will be shown later on), but the Google Copy Paste technique is something categorically new in the history of the relationship between text and author.

(Copied and pasted from the 187-pages PDF “Report on dangers and opportunities posed by large search engines, particularly Google,” September 30, 2007.)

[Thanks Mathias!]


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