1

Let's say I'm writing an article (I don't think that's the proper name for it but anyway) and I'm not including any of my own opinions, just quoting and paraphrasing others' sayings with proper citations. It includes some interviews with a couple of experts, quotations from various written sources like newspapers, books, and articles. In the end, am I a compiler or an editor of the work? Which one is more appropriate to be used esp. in academic contexts?

Title: ************

Editor / Compiler: ************

4
  • Why wouldn't you be the author? You aren't editing someone else's work and while you are compiling sources to put into your article, I would imagine that 80% of the article is your original work. If there is hardly any original work and this is for academics, you may not end up doing well since most of the work is sourced, even if it is sourced properly. Compiling to me would be more so taking a group of poems from various sources and putting them together in one book. You compiled a book of poems from various authors. Just my opinion though.
    – ggiaquin16
    Aug 9 '17 at 23:41
  • @ggiaquin It's actually an assignment; our teacher asked us to prepare such a thing. Now I'd like to put in the right word and I'm not sure what I've done or who am I right now lol This made me curious. If someone does this, what do we call them?
    – Yuri
    Aug 9 '17 at 23:47
  • Are you including any original work? or is it strictly quoting and paraphrasing? You don't need to give an opinion to state facts in your own words. Don't need an opinion to state or report on an event. Especially if it is informational. Many reporters write articles and claim to be the author when all they do is get some quotes and state the facts of the situation. I would imagine you should list yourself as the author but I would also wait to see what others may say. I don't feel 100% confident in that assertion either.
    – ggiaquin16
    Aug 9 '17 at 23:50
  • 1
    @ggiaquin Not really. Yes You're right on that. I don't need an opinion to report facts, but these facts must be taken from somewhere and I've taken them from various sources.I'm not trying to conclude anything in the end. My work simply presents what the current status is.
    – Yuri
    Aug 9 '17 at 23:58
4

There is a difference depending on whether or not you have anything to say. Let's say that you create a compendium of famous quotes from Zig Zigglar. You don't actually say anything other than to provide zingy one-liners to head each "chapter" and each "chapter" is simply paragraph-after-paragraph of Zig's notable notes. Indeed, people are buying the book because of Zig, not you. In this instance, you're a compiler because there's nothing at all there for which you can claim ownership other than the compilation itself.

On the otherhand, let's assume that you're writing an article (such as you suggest) where you are providing the connective thread that ties everything together. Yes, it may be that 80%-90% of the article is outsourced, but simply listing the attributed paragraphs without your connecting thread would actually make the article incomprehensible. The point or theme of the article would be lost without your contribution, minor that it may be. In this case, you are the author.

EDIT: P.S., this comes from being a micropublisher for 10 years and having to categorize various works of authorship with people like the U.S. Library of Congress. You're not an author simply because you selected the paragraphs in your Zig Ziglar quote book any more than you're an automotive engineer simply because you chose the options in the car you bought.

1
  • 1
    I am going to assume you meant to say ziggy one-liners
    – Weckar E.
    Aug 10 '17 at 10:40
3

You are the author of the work. Authorship means you wrangled the words. It does not mean you originated the ideas. If you composed the words, selected the quotes, and put it all in order, you are the author of the work. Since you are not advancing an argument of your own, the work is one of reporting, not argument, but that does not change the fact that you are the author of the report.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.