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I've got a question about using books for research purposes. I've noticed a lack of a single resource for WW2 special ops forces and have thought about compiling something (probably a freebee online .pdf but one can always dream) but I'm not sure about copyright law regarding sources of research. Any general suggestions / warnings? I know you can't take word for word but at what point does research become plagerism (sp?).

 

Thanks

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What I have mostly written were papers and thesis for high school and college. What amazed me is how easier to get information nowadways thanks to the internet (and Google). I remember that it was not so long ago that for research, it involved me schleping to the University's library, checking out their records, reference material, microfilm, Lexis-Nexis, etc... I would spend hours over there (as well a lot of money with their photocopiers)gathering the necessary material.

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If you recount a historical event in your own words, there shouldn't be any problem with plagiarism. If you're using more than one source for your information and you have the independent understanding of the events to be able to analyze it yourself, it's hard to imagine the issue arising. (If you don't have multiple sources or independent understanding, there's no reason for you to be writing it in the first place.)

Here's an example of source material that I found interesting. It has been written that the Iowa class battleships had problems with misaligned gun barrels, but there's little support the statement. Then I noticed something:

MJ Whitley, Battleships of World War Two, 1998: "...initially there were problems with accuracy, caused by poor gun alignment, which were not resolved until after Leyte in 1944."

John Campbell, Naval Weapons of World War Two, 1985: "Accuracy suffered initially from poor gun alignment, which was not rectified until after the Battle of Leyte."

Norman Friedman, US Naval Weapons, 1983: "...the new Iowa class battleships initially made relatively poor shooting because of poor gun alignment, a problem not solved until after Leyte Gulf."

Presumably this is an example of what is NOT plagiarism. Presumably it is also an indication it's easier to find synonyms for "solved" than for "initially."

I would argue it also illustrates the danger of relying on a single source, even one as reliable as Friedman. Bill Jurens has looked for documentation on this issue specifically, but has never been able to verify Friedman's remark.

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Originally posted by Tiornu:

I would argue it also illustrates the danger of relying on a single source, even one as reliable as Friedman. Bill Jurens has looked for documentation on this issue specifically, but has never been able to verify Friedman's remark.

 

Has anybody ever just asked Friedman where he got that? Somebody else on this forum said they knew him well. I've met him but don't know him. There used to be a real military book store in NY, Sky Books, only one in US AFAIK where he'd hang out sometimes and have bull sessions, Steve Zaloga too. This was years ago, wonder if anybody here used to go there.

 

My limited experience researching a favorite topic in primary sources, maybe for a book at some point, is that "multiple published source" facts are often really a single string of references one to the next back to one source, that's usually correct in competently done stuff but not so rarely isn't. Even if a primary source they have mistakes too that become apparent only if several can be compared. Footnotes are the key to finding out whether it's just the same thing repeated over and over, but extensive ones not that common in those sort of books.

 

Joe

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Originally posted by Stuart Galbraith:

Well Im damned, turns out I have that one, 'Tanks main battle and light tanks' right? Very good indeed, and rather more useful than the comparable janes volume by Foss. Nice work

 

 

Hi Stuart,

Yes, that's the one. Thank you for the kind comments, but I think Chris Foss's book is at least as good and probably better. I had to struggle to get past some stupid editorial constraints, that Chris with his vast experience and track- record, was able to push aside.

 

cheers

Marsh

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I have written an article "Attack Helicopter Survivability" for ARMOR magazine. It was, once upon a time, required reading for C&GS course @ Leavenworth. I wrote it because I was told to do so. I was rewarded by a free subscription to ARMOR and a few extra copies for family and friends.

 

I also wrote most of FM 17-10 Tank Platoon and Company. I also did this because I was told to do so. I recieved only my monthly salary for this effort.

 

I have recently had accepted an article on the Italian Army in WWII by the Jagdmoroner Forum. I did it because I wanted to know the information. I submitted it because there is such a lack of information concerning this subject. No compensaation, but it is a bit on an ego trip to pull it up. (by the way, if you pull it up, they failed to include some footnotes...I am not quite the plaguerist that it appears)

 

The old saw about writing about what you know is quite true, if for no other reason it saves a hell of a lot of research and footnotes. Writing about what you have an interest is even more important. Most important of all.....TRY IT!!!!!!!!!

 

I am currently in the process of compiling my notes about the French Army in WWII. Maybe someday.

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I don't know Norman Friedman myself, and none of our mutual friends have thought to ask him this one question. I have always wondered how Iowa managed to miss Katori so often in her first fight. I believe she fired eight salvos, all straddles, but no hits at a range around 15,000 yards. I've looked carefully through all my own material, but I can't find any indication of excessive dispersion, though this would be the first culprit you'd expect.

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Originally posted by JOE BRENNAN:

My limited experience researching a favorite topic in primary sources, maybe for a book at some point, is that "multiple published source" facts are often really a single string of references one to the next back to one source, that's usually correct in competently done stuff but not so rarely isn't. Even if a primary source they have mistakes too that become apparent only if several can be compared. Footnotes are the key to finding out whether it's just the same thing repeated over and over, but extensive ones not that common in those sort of books.

 

Joe

 

Absolutely! Very few writers go back to do original research (it's enormously time-consuming), they just look at a well-respected source and assume that it's correct. This is particularly obvious when a mistake is made. For example, I think it was probably William Green who first stated that late-model Bf 109s had MG 151 cowling guns. No they didn't, they couldn't possibly fit - it was almost certainly a typo for MG 131 - but you still find this being repeated!

 

Incidentally, the standard academic joke is that copying from one person is plagiarism, copying from several is scholarship.

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

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Since you didn’t say it had to be military related…

 

I’ve had about twenty articles published in various magazines. The ones of which I’m most proud are ‘High Summer in the Neon Labyrinth’ an analysis of economic prospects in Hong Kong in Business life in 1998, ‘Speedbird to Speedmark’ an overview of the restructuring of British Airways in Reader’s Digest (Asian Edition) 1998, ‘A sticky Wicket’ an analysis of economic prospects in Pakistan in Business Life in 2000 and ‘Surviving Angkor’ a memoir of what it was like as a photographer assigned to cover the UN’s takeover of Cambodia in 1991 written for The Rangefinder (a professional photographers magazine) in 2000.

 

Mostly I write travel articles, what attracts me to the subject matter is that I love traveling. Writing is a sideline for me, I earn my living as a photographer. My photos have been published in over 100 books, periodicals and journals including 18 travel guide books with another 4 due to be published in 2004.

 

I have two unfinished book manuscripts; ‘The Foskit, the Kiwibird and the Blue Brontosaurus’ is a children’s book but I can’t get anyone interested in it. I’ve also got a half finished manuscript about my experiences traveling in and photographing the Far East, I’ve pitched the idea to a few agents. Several have said; ‘That’s interesting - I’d like to see more’ but as yet no-one has said; ‘That’s interesting - I’d like to see more, here’s a half million quid advance’. Which would be nice. Perhaps I’m too optimistic.

 

I have little intelligent advice to offer on the subject of writing except

 

1. Never give up.

2. Use contacts and influence shamelessly.

3. Unless your writing fiction be as truthful as you can.

 

A more eloquent fellow than I once wrote ‘Writing is easy – all you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until flecks of blood form at your temples.’ That’s about right!

 

 

[Edited by Nick Sumner (02 Dec 2003).]

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A couple pieces in the New York Times, NY Magazine, NY Press, NY Observer and I'm getting sick of typing "NY" now...also Maxim (shut up, it wasn't about killer abs, really), a Time Magazine tech spinoff and a few more.

 

Writing? For me, at least, it's sheer bloody miserable hell but I keep going back to it. (Nowadays I keep fulltime editor/analyst type jobs and freelance a few times a year). I envy people who love writing; I'm in hell when I do it and immensely happy when it's done.

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I wrote a couple of VERY minor articles for the Journal of Military Ordnance a few years back.

 

I have the first several chapters of a novel on the battle of Franklin in a box somewhere, with a ton of research material. Life intervened. I also have a number of short stories in bits and pieces,likely never to see light.

 

My advice? Write more,stay focused. I got distracted, and have never gotten back.

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Originally posted by Tony Williams:

Absolutely! Very few writers go back to do original research (it's enormously time-consuming), they just look at a well-respected source and assume that it's correct.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

 

This is becoming more and more true (unfortunately) in scientific research. If Prof. John Smith published a result in 1977 and then Dr. Al Jones published a detailed numerical model in 1998 adding a few complexities to Smith's original model, I will take any odds that most grad students and postdocs publishing papers after 1998 will have referenced Jones as if he was the original source of the idea.

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Originally posted by JOE BRENNAN:

There used to be a real military book store in NY, Sky Books, only one in US AFAIK (snip)

 

Joe

 

You are shitting me, aren't you? Tiny little Belgium has a HUGE military bookstore (worth visitng Belgium for IMHO!). There is at least one in Germany and several in the UK, though I can't vouch for any of these.

 

 

 

[Edited by Chris Werb (04 Dec 2003).]

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Sigh. RIP, Sky Books.

 

Originally posted by JOE BRENNAN:

There used to be a real military book store in NY, Sky Books, only one in US AFAIK where he'd hang out sometimes and have bull sessions, Steve Zaloga too. This was years ago, wonder if anybody here used to go there.

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Originally posted by Chris Werb:

  You are shitting me, aren't you?  Tiny little Belgium has a HUGE military bookstore (worth visitng Belgium for IMHO!). There is at least one in Germany and several in the UK, though I can't vouch for any of these.

 

Would that I were. When in London, used to go fairly often, Motorbooks and Ian Allen were mandatory stops on the schedule.

 

Joe

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A Couple of articles for www.bharat-rakshak.com on the Vijayanta

(Vickers) tank and the new Tank-ex from DRDO. The latter got ripped off by the press, a paper named Asian Age in particular and my words were repeated verbatim in the Journal of Military Ordnance article on the Tank-ex. SHould count for something, I guess. Am writing some more stuff for the same website- including an article on the Arjun MBT.

 

 

>>What attracted you to the subject matter, how did you research it?

 

Very interested in the subject matters at hand. Research- I look around for every bit of news available and then try and corroborate the same via first hand info.

 

 

>>What’s in the pipeline?

 

More articles on Indian (and others relevant to Indian security) defense projects. The prime criteria being that there is preciosu little on Indian defense projects on the web and elsewhere and most of the information is outdated. Groups like Janes etc infact have made a priviledge out of necessity, recycling the same data time and again. So new work needs be done.

 

 

>>What advice would you give to any other Tanknet members who are considering writing?

 

Can be dreadfully tiresome at times, especially when digging up data. Easy to put it on the backburner. Hence I would say just "stick with it" when it comes to getting the work done.

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Originally posted by Tony Williams:

Absolutely! Very few writers go back to do original research (it's enormously time-consuming), they just look at a well-respected source and assume that it's correct. This is particularly obvious when a mistake is made. For example, I think it was probably William Green who first stated that late-model Bf 109s had MG 151 cowling guns. No they didn't, they couldn't possibly fit - it was almost certainly a typo for MG 131 - but you still find this being repeated!

 

Incidentally, the standard academic joke is that copying from one person is plagiarism, copying from several is scholarship.

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

 

The example you cited is still around, to give a more recent analogy, the Mig 21-93 Upgrade does not have an IRST. However in the past, a couple of articles mentioned that it may include one and it is common to see references to an IRST even in published work by former IAF officers...though the aircraft doesnt have one. A single quote gets picked up and recycled endlessly.

The statement about "the trouble involved in original" research is still very valid. The more respected the source, the lazier the editorial staff.

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Originally posted by Chris Werb:

  You are shitting me, aren't you?  Tiny little Belgium has a HUGE military bookstore (worth visitng Belgium for IMHO!). There is at least one in Germany and several in the UK, though I can't vouch for any of these.

 

 

Dear Chris

 

Ive visted three

 

Motorbooks has been mentioned

Foyles isn't specialist miltary but its military book dept is as big as most book shops - not as good as it used to be

Barbarossa Books in Maldon Essex - in the middle of nowhere!

 

And theres one in Farnborough (whos name I can't recall) and Caliver books also in Essex

 

In the states I visited Military Bookman in NY, but thats just 2nd hand

 

Cheers

 

Bob

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Originally posted by Dave Clark:

People are going to get horribly lost following your directions, Bob! They are in Tiptree - also in the middle of nowhere!

 

see Barbarossa Books

 

 

Come now. Essex is pretty small really. Hardly the "middle of nowhere." Foe that you need Russian steppes, African desert or Alaska and Canada's North Slope...

 

I'm sure a good bookstore wouldn't be hard to find. But I managed to miss it when I drove through Essex Next year...

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I have just remmebered the one and only time my words have appeared in print.

 

I wrote into Focus Magazine (UK equivilent to Pop mechanics) after they named the Leclerc as "the best tank in the world" to "Educate" them out of this belief.

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