For my seminar work i want to use a slide which i found in a presentation available on the internet. Now i wonder whether it is considered plagiarism if i copy the slide into my presentation while citing it.

If copying is okay, do I have to quote it on the slide itself or in the references at the end?


Standards for attribution are a lot lower in presentations than in formal papers. There is simply not enough time and space for it. It is unlikely that you will be accused of plagiarism for copying slides.

However, to be safe, you could add a small note to the slide or verbally say something stating where you got it from. Perhaps the creator put a lot of effort into the slides and wants to be credited.

Standards vary from field to field and country to country, so ask someone in your department to be sure.

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    Just an additional note: is someone finds out that a slide is copied, they may assume that the whole presentation is made up of copied slides, so it is always better to provide footnotes. – rg_software Jan 9 at 7:42
  • @rg_software You should expand upon your comment and provide it as an answer. – user2768 Jan 9 at 8:18
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    I would make the statement stronger: not just "to be safe", but always: if he got the slide from somewhere else, cite it. Simple as that, and there will be no problems. – Captain Emacs Jan 9 at 9:41

Let me repeat the definition of plagiarism as "the representation of other people's words and/or ideas as your own". In particular, in means that it is not just a technical issue (how to cite), it is equally a matter of impression that your work makes on your readers or listeners. So if they see a slide and believe that it is your own text, well, it's plagiarism.

For example, I used the definition of plagiarism above without citing it source, but it should be clear from the context that this is not my personal definition, so I think I am not plagiarising right here :)

Personally I even think you can simply acknowledge the source verbally, but in this case you have to be sure that the presentation will never be used apart from your talk (which is hard), so I wouldn't recommend it. I agree that in case of presentation you probably won't get into trouble, but if I see one "borrowed" slide without acknowledgement, I might presume that the whole presentation is "borrowed" from different sources, so it's not in your interest.

The particular way of citing is not important: it might be just a question of your page layout. If you don't have enough space, make a footnote "taken from [1]" and expand it in the last slide. If you have space, provide a URL right on the slide — it's fine, too.

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