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The Story of Pleishurizm University

by Russ Dewey, Host of Psych Web

Back in 1999 I posted a huge list of Psychology Departments on the Web on Psych Web. I inserted a fictitious school in the "P" section between Pittsburgh and Plymouth: Pleishurizm University. Sounded out that is "plagiarism" of course. I figured this unique entry would allow me to find copies of my list which had been reproduced without permission on the web. Sure enough, here is a site which includes my 1999 list complete with Pleishurizm U:

http://www.student-manual.com/study/subjects/psychdepart.htm

Wow...it's still there in 2006, with a 1999 list of Psychology Departments. They copied the work but they did not give me any credit, which makes it true plagiarism. I tried to contact these people to protest, but their "contact us" cgi script did not even work. Figures.

This site in China also reproduced the page with Pleishurizm U:

http://www.xinli.sdu.edu.cn/english/communion.htm

This was an odd one, because they only reproduced A through L. They also reproduced the top paragraph which gives the Psych Web URL (that is good) including my old e-mail address (rdewey@gasou.edu) which is now defunct. And they said, "Updated 08/15/99" which is about right. I did not bother trying to contact these people; the page formatting has several errors and probably nobody visits that page. I suspect it is no coincidence when sites which rip off a completed web page seem to have an "untogether" quality. If they cannot find time to do their own work, they probably cannot find time to debug their web sites.

Here is one more site with the 1999 list, this one in Austria. They reproduced the whole thing.

http://paedpsych.jk.uni-linz.ac.at/INTERNET/LINKSORD/PsychologyDepartmentsWeb.html

Like the Chinese site, they have archived the 8/15/1999 version of my list.

In response to stuff like this, I tried encoding my big list in javascript. That "worked" in the sense that people did not copy it, but search engines do not index javascript encoded pages, so people could not find it using Google or other search engines. That list gradually became obsolete as universities changed their domain names and directory structures.

When I finally resolved to update the list in 2004, it was so out-of-date that I wanted to start over. I also realized that by this time, with "Google" treated as a verb, a huge alphabetized list of links was no longer helpful to visitors. Such a list requires that a visitor know the exact name of a school, and if a person knows the exact name of a school, Google will yield the link to the Psychology Department in seconds (usually...not always).

For this reason, the most useful form of the Psychology Departments on the Web section would be divided into countries, or states or provinces within countries like the U.S. and Canada. That way the list would invite browsing, and it would provide a different level of functionality from an alphabetized list. It could yield surprises to a student unaware of all the schools in a particular area. As it turned out, this form of the list was also much more fun to create. I found it interesting to visit all the Psychology Departments in a particular state or country.

The new browsable form of the list is not javascript protected; I am including a line on each page which asks people not to copy it and inviting them to link to it instead. We will see if that works. I think most people are good people who do not intentionally do wrong or violate such requests. No longer is there a listing for Pleishurizm University.



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