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The librarian's role in combating plagiarism

Nancy Snyder Gibson (Felix G. Woodward Library, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)
Christina Chester‐Fangman (Felix G. Woodward Library, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 15 February 2011




The paper aims to discuss the ways in which librarians of different types are addressing the issue of plagiarism at the institutional and pedagogical levels.


A 25‐question non‐quantitative online survey was conducted regarding: the institutional role of librarians in plagiarism prevention; the collaborations among librarians and instructors in helping students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it; and the interactions among librarians and students involved in combating plagiarism.


More than 90 percent of the 610 respondents report that they have assisted students with citing sources. Over 70 percent have instructed students about plagiarism in class. Approximately a quarter have collaborated with other departments regarding plagiarism, conducted or attended workshops on plagiarism, worked with instructors to redesign assignments, or helped faculty with tracking possible instances of student plagiarism.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reports on a survey which is not statistically valid. The results of this survey, however, can shed light on the librarian's role to date in combating plagiarism and suggest future directions.

Practical implications

This survey reports what librarians are doing to address plagiarism at all levels, and it reflects what is being practiced in the field.


While many librarians have written about plagiarism strategies, this national survey focuses on the work of librarians at the institutional and pedagogical levels.



Snyder Gibson, N. and Chester‐Fangman, C. (2011), "The librarian's role in combating plagiarism", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 132-150.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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