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NYU Florence Library & Online Resources: Liberal Studies

Villa Ulivi Library info & NYU restricted and open access resources relevant to the academic program in Florence.

Plagiarism: How to Avoid It

Video by Bainbridge College (GA), downloaded from YouTube.

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism (pronounced: play-juh-riz-um) is the act of taking someone else’s words, ideas, or information and passing them off as your own. If you don’t give credit to the author of these ideas in footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography, you are committing plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.

Everything you find that is written, whether in print in books and journals, or on the web, should be considered copyrighted. That means that you should think of it as belonging to someone else. Information that you find on the web is not free to take or use – it is someone else’s intellectual property. Any material lifted from an original source, including web resources, without proper acknowledgement or credit is considered plagiarized. Inadvertent or accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism. Plagiarism can inadvertently happen if you are not careful about taking notes while you research; it is sometimes difficult to remember exactly where your ideas came from when you are doing research, so remember to cite your sources while you work.

It is your responsibility to know what constitutes plagiarism. Not knowing citation standards is not an excuse. When in doubt, err on the side of over-documentation and cite the source. You can also ask your professor, teaching assistant, or a librarian for help in determining what is and is not plagiarism.

Why Should You Cite Your Sources?

All scholarly or academic work requires that you cite your sources, whether you are writing a long paper or a quick report. Why is citing your research so important?

Researching and writing a paper ideally involves a process of exploring and learning. By citing your sources, you are showing your reader how you came to your conclusions and acknowledging the other people's work that brought you to your conclusions. Citing your sources

  • Documents your research and scholarship
  • Acknowledges the work of others whose scholarship contributed to your work
  • Helps your reader understand the context of your argument
  • Provides information for your reader to use to locate additional information on your topic
  • Establishes the credibility of your scholarship
  • Provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your own integrity and understanding of academic ethics

Partially adapted from "When and Why to Cite Sources." SUNY Albany. 2008. Retrieved 14 Jan 2009.

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Library vs. Web Research: What's the Difference?

This table provides a contrast of engaging in library research versus web searching.
Research Elements Library Research Web Searching
Search Tools
  • Online Catalog (e.g. NYU Libraries)
  • Databases (e.g. Science Direct)
  • Search engines (e.g. Google)
What You’ll Find 
  • Books, articles, and other published materials
  • Mostly web sites (of varying quality)
What it Costs 
  • The library covers the high costs of database subscriptions so you don’t have to pay for articles you find.
  • Information on web sites is generally free. If you do find books and articles, you may have to pay for them.
Quality Control
  • Materials are subject to various degrees of editorial review to check information for accuracy and credibility.
  • Web sites are often not reviewed. Extra caution is needed when evaluating information on the web.


Search the NYU Libraries Catalog for Books and Articles

Search here for books, articles, journals and other print materials, videos, sound recordings, e-books, e-journals, databases, and indexes in our local libraries and special collections.


General/Multidisciplinary Databases

Database Search Tips

Here are tips for better search results in databases. This usage works on most databases, but check 'Help' sections for supported search syntax. 

Boolean: (using operators: and, or, not) 

mother and father searches for occurrences of both words within scope defined.

mother or father searches for one or all, but both are not required.

mother not father searches for occurrences of the word ‘mother’ without use of the word ‘father.’

(mother not father) and god searches for occurrences of the word ‘mother’ without use of the word ‘father,’ then also requires the word ‘god.’



art* searches for art, arts, artistic, artful, etc.


m?n searches for man and men. 

E-Books Databases

News Databases

Some NYU Libraries Research Guides

Search Credo Reference

Online collection of dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographical sources, quotations, bilingual dictionaries, and measurement conversions covering topics from the arts to the sciences.

Search the OED

Arts and Cultures & Global Works and Society