Credit where credit is due

5 February 2015

How many affluent professional genealogists do you know? I couldn’t name you even one. How many of those professional genies love their jobs though? Oh, I could name you plenty of them! I would say that if a poll/survey was carried out across various trades/professions, this one would come out near the top with regard to job satisfaction. On the flip side, it would come out pretty low on profitability!

I doubt any of us are in this job to make a ‘quick buck’. We love what we do – whether we are family historians, genealogists, Heir Hunters, lecturers, writers, authors, whatever…. but it’s not easy. Having your boiler fixed …. having your car serviced …. pretty essential tasks, but what we do (most of the time) isn’t crucial to our clients. How much would you pay someone to write a book, an article, draw up your family history….? How much would you pay the plumber to fix your boiler when you have no heating or hot water?

Over the course of the last 24 hours, I have delivered two webinars – one for Legacy and one for the Society of Australian Genealogists. It won’t surprise you to know that the preparation for these presentations was not an overnight event, even in terms of the production of the Powerpoint slide show and planning the ‘order of service’. The knowledge has been built up over years of researching and a lot of hard work. About four hours after my first webinar, I noticed that all my sources from the syllabus material had been put online in a Facebook group (which thankfully I am a member of and so, I spotted it!). The omission of the fact that the references had all come from me was soon rectified with no harm done but it made me think: how many other people use material which is provided in webinars, lectures, seminars etc. and do not credit the person who put the information together?

I have corresponded with geneacolleagues recently about this matter. When do you think it would be ‘OK’ to pass off (either intentionally or otherwise) other people’s work as your own? There is a very short answer folks: NEVER! 

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