Friday, May 05, 2006

A legitimate use?

Now, Prof. Me might think me simply obsessed. But I think using the tools of internet forensics can not only inform us of unusual (but rather useless) oddities, but be a ward against, say, plagiarism. Let me illustrate.

Recently, I engaged in the following email exchange, regarding my research website, with someone unknown to me:
My name is Liz and I am a senior [field 3] major at [East Coast University]. I have been using your site to find good articles for my final lab on [topic], and I am a bit confused. Since you updated your site I feel as though some of the studies I wanted to reference are missing? You used to have a study which showed that [thesis as she recalled it]?

Now I cannot find it? If you could tell me who the researchers were or where it is now I would be so appreciative!

Thanks for having such a great site!
Hi Liz,
I think the articles you refer to are by [Ju, Ju, and Bee]. See [URL listing all the articles by those authors on my site] Hope that helps. If not, let me know, and I'll see what I can do. Glad my site has been useful to you.


I searched the articles they wrote and none of them referenced the _______ effect though I am quite sure I found them on your site prior. Sorry for the bother..if you have any way of figuring out which it was (google hasnt helped me much) i would be so appreciative! thanks
Hi Liz,

Sorry you're having trouble. I haven't taken anything down, so if you found it there before, it should still be accessible. If it's not those articles, I'm not sure what you're looking for. Pickle & Chutney (1997) is a thorough review of the literature, so that might be a place to look.

You might also want to look over my old webpages at [doctoral institution URL], in particular under the rubric "Research". The original (2000) version of the annotated bibliography that you accessed can be now found at [URL]. The original was chronologically based, rather than organized by author. It also includes references for additional articles, which I had not yet annotated (some which I still have not). Perhaps you can find what you're looking for there.

By the way, noting my site by URL as a source for your research is always appreciated, and a good way besides to ward against any suspicion of plagiarism on the part of your professors.

Best of luck,

This, by the way explains only one of the repeated hitters. The second one is more troubling, because I am guessing that plagiarism is likely to be occuring. So, I've spent a bit (not too much) time trying to figure out what class this person might be taking and at what school. It is of course possible that I have simply attracted an individual quite genuinely interested in my research. For now, I simply don't know.

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