Citation, Documentation of Sources
Q. I recently mailed a flyer to my tour group and used the phrase “The Pavilion houses the museum’s collection of Japanese works dating from around 3000 b.c. to the twentieth century,” which I had copied from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art web page. After I clicked the Send button I realized the b.c. was in lowercase. Should I email a correction to the museum staff?
A. A correction—or an apology? I checked out the page you refer to, and on my monitor the abbreviation appears in small caps (B.C.). Although this style is fine (we prefer BC), small caps can get lost during the transfer of copy from one electronic platform to another (such as copying and e-mailing). If you put quotation marks around the phrase and credited the museum’s site, your only crime was a failure to proofread. If you simply pasted without attribution, that’s plagiarism.