Re: What thrills you?

Subject: Re: What thrills you?
From: Rick Lippincott <rjl -at- BOSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 09:40:06 EDT

Stuart Burnfield asks:

>It's simple enough to prove that something was plagiarised. How do do
>prove it wasn't? I could have taken through all the texts in the biblio-
>graphy, but that wouldn't prove I didn't take it from another text.

The short answer (as you know) is, "You can't."

I never thought I'd see an advantage to typewritten, hand-marked drafts. But
this seems to be it.

Back in the old days, when we would use typewriters (usually while sitting
around the campfire in our bearskins, after a hard day of hunting sabre
toothed tigers...), we'd have a stack of rough draft material that went
before the final copy. In a case like Stuarts, I'd have pulled out all the
rough copy, plopped it on the lecturer's desk, and said "If I've plagerised,
then I also had to fake these pages..." (Although it may -not- have worked
with the man Stuart dealt with, that lecturer seems to be the proof of the
old proverb "A man who checks behind the curtain for intruders is likely to
have hidden there himself at one time.")

I have heard, though, that literary historians are distressed by the increased
use of word processing tools in writing. They say that the practice of
doing all the revisions in one file, thus erasing early drafts, destroys their
ability to later come in and study the "history" of the document. Usually
all that's left are final copies, with no indication of the development. The
historians can't look at a modern author's work and get a feel for the
writer's mindset, as they could with paper/hand markups.

It's a tough problem. But time marches on....

Rick Lippincott
Boston Technology
Wakefield, MA
rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

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