It would be too easy to get anal here! However, it is a concern to me when I see "factual" statements or speculation, where there is no source specified for the statements, I get suspicious. I think that attribution is essential
Attibution is also known as to "Cite" your source.
I guess this is a rather perosnal standpoint for me, in these days of the Internet and Social Media is it so easy to give credit to your sources. If you are the author of something, and this has to be the default assumption unless stated otherwise, then anyone reading it can then know who to ask for further clarification or more information. It is really easy to place a link to the source of the information if it has been found on the Internet. If the information was provided by a person or organisation other than the Internet then this source should be clearly named.
In website design when a source is identified I think that more information should be included so that the reader can look at this information directly and make their own interpretation. For example, P.H. Reaney's Placenames of Essex is used in a history of the village that I currently live. I am in the process of finding out more information, like the 904 on the village Millenium sign. At the moment nobody seems to know what that date actually refers. There is a date of 940 in Birch's Cartularium Saxonicum (1885-1893) - I could go on......
Of course, all this information could be found if you make a serach on the Internet for it independantly, but isn't the point of putting something on the Internet that you make it easier for the reader to do so? I have make some searches for the citings above and have added these links at the bottom of this page. As I said, easy to do!
As I have been using the Internet ever since it was publically available I may have a different opinion to those that have grown up with it as something that just is. In many respects I think that we have a very much wasted resource that can be used far more efffecively. I despair when I here comments similar to "Facebook is the way to go"! In my opinion there is far more you can do with the Internet, Facebook is undoubtedly successful and has entered the lives of many. At what cost? I ask myself.
Scanning and Posting
There is more to website administration than just scanning articles and posting them. Care needs to taken to ensure that the information posted is in a form that can be accessed by your target audience. This is easy for me as I don't really have one! However, if you do then you need to bear that in mind and request feedback from those that you are aiming to inform or serve a service. For sites that are largely informational this is easy, for sites that sell something it can be very complex. In between are those sites that attempt to provide a means by which the vistors can reserve an organisations resources or provide a forum for those served to communicate.
The Historic England Website
If you read the English History Website Terms and Conditions it says:
Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this website in any form is prohibited other than for individual use only and may not be recopied and shared with a third party except as set out in User-submitted content, below. The permission to recopy by an individual does not allow for incorporation of material or any part of it in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic, or any other form. Any other use of the website without prior written consent from Historic England is strictly forbidden.
However, its Links Policy encourages linking to their site. Seeing that a lot of the Listing Data is based on Legacy information I don't think that they wil mind that I am reformatting some of the text found on their site.
The Dangers of Attribution
I do have an anecdotal story regarding this. When first moved into the area in which I now reside I thought it would be an idea to post a photograph of the house I was living in. As I hadn't taken any shots myself I chose to use one that I found on the Internet. This was one from a gallery of a holiday rental site located in Suffolk. As attribution I added the url of the rental agency.
The person that I upset in Canada for posting about his activties found this posting and took it upon himself to attempt to contact that agency to presuambly discredit my name, or at least that is what he implied in his largely unintelligable emails! He aslo claimed that he was in the process of writing to ALL the churches in Suffolk with a similar goal. I am not sure what he was ging to say about me but I think that it would have been on the lines that I was some kind of terrorist or child molester.