Links for 2007-01-09

UPDATE: Check out the comments for a response from the company’s founder.

3 Responses to “Links for 2007-01-09”

  1. scott Says:

    I like the idea of this better than the idea of Turnitin.

  2. eszter Says:

    Scott, Turnitin is about plagiarism _prevention_, the point of my note was to signal that while Carmun obviously isn’t marketing itself as a site where students can plagiarise, it seems like that would be an important feature of it.

    Of course, it’s hard to figure out how to deal with all this and it may be wrong to assume such intentions. But I thought it interesting that they were paying people to submit summaries of books.

  3. Jonathan Edson Says:

    First, by way of introduction, my name is Jonathan Edson and I am the founder and CEO of Carmun ( I thought that I would share my perspective on the plagiarism issue.

    My vision and hope for Carmun is that it actually improves academic honesty rather than contributing to its deterioration. I couldn’t mean anything more sincerely. Before I started the company, I was a graduate student hoping to have a long career teaching and turning on eager minds to wonders of medieval insular literature. Although I have had to put this vocation on a temporary hold, the issue of academic honesty remains very important to me.

    Our vision for Carmun comes out of two frustrations I had as a pre-dissertation grad student : (i) I found the work of finding sources for papers draining, both timewise and emotionally. I wished that someone could recommend sources so that I could just get started; and (ii) I wished I knew more people that were into the obscure aspects of medieval lit that also thrilled me. To address both of these issues, Carmun hopes to aggregate comments on and “reviews” of source materials — not summaries.

    With respect to the first, we hope our approach will allow us to harness the wisdom of the crowds effect so that students can spend less time looking for sources and more time reading and analyzing them. Thus, if we can make it easier to do honest work, more people might actually do it.

    With respect to the second issue, Carmun will let you find out WHO is reviewing sources that interest you. I felt something like this would be a Godsend for people who are passionate about what they study — not only as a channel for socializing, but also to allows students to cross disciplines and institutions that the current higher-ed model makes at least somewhat difficult.

    Right now, we are paying people to review and comment on sources as a way of creating sample content for when we move out of our semi-private beta. We hope that, when people see interesting and helpful source commentaries, they will be inspired to write their own and thus allow us to build a robust research resource.

    Of course, the site’s promise remains to be seen. However, I at least have high hopes that we will find a way to make it work — not just as a business, but also as a way to improve the way college and grad students get their work done.

    I’d be interested in your feedback and would love to have a real dialogue about the site and the issues you raise.

    Jonathan Edson
    jredson at carmun dot com