Monday 5 April 2010

DePaul's Art and Cultural Heritage Law Society Blog

The DePaul's Art and Cultural Heritage Law Society blog seems to have started up about March 11th and has a series of posts made by person or persons unknown (the profile does not reveal) called "ACHLS Executive Board" who have made upwards of 30 posts to their "blog" (which seems a misnomer in this case). I find to my surprise a goodly number of them are lifted straight from this blog and cut and pasted into theirs without so much as a word that this is what has happened, or a word of commentary from the "authors" of the ACHLS blog.
True, there is a link somewhere embedded in these texts which leads the reader back to the original source. But those links do not show up when the post on the "ACHLS Blog" is referenced elsewhere - such as reposted on the Museum Security Network by a third person - sourced of course to the ACHLS blog and not the original location where the text was published. By this means, we just end up with lots of duplicate but orphaned texts floating around the Internet producing confusion about who wrote what and who thinks what about it.
Like this morning's Google Web Alert for "looted antiquities":
DePaul's Art and Cultural Heritage Legal Society: Renfrew ...The decision opens the way for Iran to recover the looted antiquities held by the Barakat Galleries which were subject to dispute.
It would be at least good manners for the ACHLS to actually state more explicitly who is the author of the text they have copied and pasted verbatim to their "own blog" (without asking or informing the author one might add).

There are a number of posts of mine I have found duplicated on the ACHLS blog, and I note at least one pinched from the SAFECorner blog, again in that case the author's name does not appear in the text ACHLS have reposted.

Neither does a search of their blog or associated profile reveal who actually are in the "ACHLS Executive board". Now, if they want to use my words from my blog as words of their own, then I would have no objection to accepting honorary nomination to the ACHLS Executive board and any privileges that go with that. If however they do not accept this proposition, I suggest they either actually say more explicitly whose words they are borrowing, or they could say briefly that "over on ABC's blog is an article on XYZ" and just give the link (and then maybe something like: "we think this author is right/utterly mistaken because....").
Or, and it is just a suggestion, these academics could even find their own stuff to write about instead of reposting other people's material and thoughts to bulk out their page. After all is that not what blogs are for?

US dealings in art and cultural heritage - both their own and that of other countries - is a pretty wide field, it strikes me a bit odd that the academics of De Paul's ACHLS have to bulk out their "blog" by copying into it bits of other people's with scant acknowledgement. At the least, it does not create a very good impression of the vitality of the institution it represents.

UPDATE 7th April 2010.
This has appeared on the "blog":
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It has been brought to our attention that the attribution in our posts is insufficient. It was never our intention to claim this material as our own. We apologize for this mistake. As a new student organization, we wanted to start creating a place where students could find links to the important issues in the field by centralizing the blogs we follow and enjoy. We have deleted all this material and will work on a better policy to make attribution more apparent in the future. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact us at achls.depaul AT gmail DOT com. Posted by ACHLS Executive Board at 3:42 PM <

Of course one might consider the merits or otherwise of the creation of a heap of poorly-sourced stuff in one place for lazy students to find on their laptops without even getting out of bed, and encouraging them to search for it themselves from various sources.


Anonymous said...

Ack! They got me, too!

I don't think its anything bad intended, as the title of the post links to my blog, but yeah aggregators are a bit disarming.

Anonymous said...

Oh -- I'm pissed! There isn't even a link to my blog in the blog links sidebar even though they've used my articles! I think you, Paul Barford, should let them know that they at least need to stop framing it like a blog and have an explanation as to where and how the content is aggregated. AND we should know who exactly is doing it.

Paul Barford said...

Why ME? (Apart from you thinking I am like a powerful bull elephant, that is.) I have written what I think, if they want to ignore it, that is their problem. I do think that - intentionally or not - they are being dishonest in not being clear about what is going on. Rather discredits the institution too.

Paul Barford said...

Oh, yeah. I did not even look, but now I see they are taking material from a blog which they do not acknowledge in the links in the sidebar even exists... Well, that, frankly, stinks, de Paul's.

Bill Donovan said...

it's a fairly widespread practice known as reblogging. There are even programs that will set up a reblog without the need of a person to select articles, in that case its called autoblogging.

Damien Huffer said...

Yep, they got me to (SAFECorner). If they've made a statement to the effect that they're going to rethink their policy on citations, lets hope they act on it ASAP!

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.