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LIB104 - Plagiarism & Citations: Plagiarism


This online class goes through what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, as well as how to format your citations. You can navigate between these two sections using the tabs above (Plagiarism and Citations), and internally within sections using the Table of Contents linked along the left side of each page.


Plagiarism is using the words, ideas, or images of an author, graphic artist, photographer, musician, etc. without giving credit, either accidentally or deliberately.

Plagiarism includes:

Plagiarism can also include collaborating too closely with classmates (discussing the assignment, researching together, having the same sources, etc.) if your individual assignments are found to be too similar. Always check with your instructor before collaborating on individual assignments.

It's not necessary to cite something that is common knowledge (e.g. Ottawa is the capital of Canada). If you're not sure if something is common knowledge or not, cite it.

For a list of what to cite and what not to cite, visit the Camden-Carroll Library.

Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

You can avoid plagiarism by:

  • taking good notes
  • tracking what you use
  • citing all your sources
  • giving yourself enough time to research, write, and cite

Often, the databases that you use for research will have built-in functions to help you keep track of the articles you want to use. Emailing, printing, and saving copies of potentially useful articles to reference later will help you avoid last-minute citation panic. 

Don't wait until the last minute to start your references -- if you have paraphrased an idea or taken a direct quote from another source, at the very least, leave a brief note for yourself that includes enough information for you to go back later and create a full in-text citation and reference list citation. In APA citation style, in-text citations only need an author's last name, a year of publication, and a page number. Including those immediately will save yourself time later.

Although it's possible to plagiarize accidentally, if you're careful and diligent when you're doing your research and putting together your paper, you will be far less likely to be stuck in a situation where you have taken someone's work without giving them due credit.

Real-Life Consequences

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, even if it's unintentional or accidental.

Some consequences for plagiarism may include:

Plagiarism can haunt you even after you've graduated. German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was found to have plagiarised long portions of his PhD thesis. Although he claimed it was an innocent error, he was stripped of his doctorate and subsequently resigned from his position in 2011. "The admission [of plagiarism] led to him being dubbed the minister for cut-and-paste, or Baron zu Googleberg" (Pidd, 2011).

Reference List

Pidd, H. (2011, March 1). German defence minister resigns in PhD plagiarism row. The Guardian. Retrieved from


Avoiding Plagiarism by University of British Columbia

NAIT's Academic Regulations and Procedures

  • Includes a section on Academic Integrity, plagiarism, and consequences.

Plagiarism 2.0: Information Ethics in the Digital Age

  • A video from our Films on Demand database. You may be prompted to log in with your portal username and password.

  • An interactive site sponsored by WriteCheck that guides you through the many facets of plagiarism.