I’ve been reading a couple of blog posts recently that urge teachers and other bloggers and link collectors not to just cut and paste substantial parts of the text of someone else’s blog post without proper attribution and an understanding of copyright. Richard Byrne’s blog post on So You Want to Reuse a Blog Post? and Sue Water’s post on How Do You Feel When Someone Copies and Pastes Your Post? are good reminders that there are better ways to acknowledge and link to great resources without coming over as a plagiarist.

So here are three ways to not simply copy and paste while still re-using great blog posts.

  1. Don’t blog it at all: social bookmark it. Keep a separate tag or username for your students if you want it to be easily accessible, and use any one of a number of social bookmarking services, such as Delicious. Encourage the reader to go to the original blog to read it. Some social bookmarking sites enable you to write additional information – and some are basically blogging sites (posterous, tumblr – see below). Alternatively – or as well as – post the link on Twitter with a short statement of explanation.
  2. Write a good link post: quote from the blog and link to it, and explain why it is that you recommend the post. Don’t just repeat all the text from the original. Aim for a 60%/40% you/them at least, even for a minimal link post. Such a post can be blogged anywhere but is easy to do with a bookmarklet such as for Tumblr, Twitter, Posterous or WordPress.
  3. Use the blog post as an inspiration – exactly as I’ve done here. Then add some of your own opinions, links or further information. Particularly useful if you want to link to a selection of other posts. Readers like to find collections of links on a subject – it’s one of the strengths of the blogosphere.