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Library Information Guide - Fort Wayne


Plagiarism is a violation of Ivy Tech Community College’s policy on academic integrity.

Plagiarism is “presenting within one’s own work the ideas, representations, or words of another person without customary and proper acknowledgement of that person’s authorship.” (Ivy Tech Community College, Student Handbook)

Plagiarism Examples

  • Paraphrasing by just changing or rearranging a few words from the original text
  • Neglecting to use quotation marks when you use word-for-word information in your paper
  • Copying another student’s paper and turning it in as your own work
  • Downloading a paper from a website and submitting it as your own
  • Copying and pasting sections of a website directly into your paper without acknowledging the source of the information
  • Including the ideas or words of an author without using a citation to give credit

What Plagiarism is NOT

Personal experiences: You are not committing plagiarism when you write about your personal experiences or opinions or when you provide information that is considered “common knowledge.” When writing about a personal experience you can use the phrase: "In the authors' experience ..."

Common knowledge is information generally known to others; it is often found consistently described in several sources. For example, the statement “George Washington served as the first President of the United States” is common knowledge to Americans.

Determining what is common knowledge can depend on your audience. For example: in a Psychology class, you may not need a source citation defining what is a disorder; in an English class, you may need one. When in doubt, cite a source. 

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

Here are some great tips to help you avoid plagiarism!

  • As you take notes, write down what you will need later for your citation (author, title, date, publication, page numbers, website address, etc.).
  • If you copy something word-for-word in your notes, enclose this information in quotation marks and immediately write down the source.
  • When paraphrasing, read the material, then close the book or cover the text, and try to write the information in you own words. Don’t paraphrase by just rearranging text or changing a few words.
  • Don’t forget to give credit for the non-print sources you use (ex: pictures or websites).
  • Don’t “copy and paste” from the Internet directly into your document. It is easy to forget later where you found the information and its source.
  • Become familiar with the citation style your instructor requires, and check with your librarian or instructor if you have questions about the style.
  • If you’re not sure if the information is common knowledge, cite your source.

Cite Your Sources

You give credit to your source with a citation. A citation helps authenticate the information you found and allows the reader to find the original source for further investigation.

The word “citation” can be used to describe how you acknowledge the author in the body of your paper, and it also refers to the complete reference you provide in the bibliography or “Works Cited” section. Check with your instructor for the citation style you should use for your course work.

Using Someone Else's Work

Each of these techniques, described below, requires that you give credit to the information source.

  • Direct quotations
    These are the exact words of the original source, and they must be enclosed in quotation marks. Quotations may include words, phrases, or sentences.
  • Paraphrasing
    This includes the source material, but it is restated in your own words and style; the paraphrased material is about the same length as the original.
  • Summary
    This includes just the main points of the source material, and it is also written in your own words. A summary is usually shorter in length than the original.


Ivy Tech Community College requires that students understand and comply with copyright law and the terms of fair use to avoid copyright infringement of the original works of others.

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” (United States Copyright Office,, accessed February 20, 2006)

To be protected by copyright, an original work must be fixed in a tangible form. Examples of tangible forms include books, articles, websites, music, or videos.

Copyright protection is automatic and requires no action or copyright symbol to activate.

The copyright owner has rights as to how the original work may be reproduced, distributed, displayed, or performed.

The length of copyright protection varies depending upon when the work was created.

Copyright for works created on or after January 1, 1978 is protected for the life of the author, plus 70 years.

Exemption to copyright protection extends to selected works, such as:

  • Those in the public domain (ex: slogans)
  • Some educational materials
  • United States government works
    • (Note: This does not include state, local or foreign government works.)
  • Works for which copyright has expired

Check with your librarian if you are not sure if a work is copyrighted.

Student Copyright Rights

You are by law the copyright holder of the work you create as an Ivy Tech student. This work includes research papers, digital projects, web sites, artistic creations, and any other work that is “fixed in a tangible form”. The protection given your work is automatic and requires no registration or copyright symbol or statement on the work (although placing such a statement is advisable).

As the owner of the copyright for your work, you own and control the right to:

  • Make copies
  • Distribute copies
  • Display your work
  • Publicly perform your work
  • Create a derivative work (one adapted to a different form or format)

You also have the exclusive right to grant or deny permission to others to make and distribute copies of your work, display or perform it, or create a derivative work.