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I'm not aiming this specifically at Seth Tucker and Jim Carter--it's
been on my mind for a couple of weeks. Basically, to what extent is
it appropriate for people to be posting open-ended requests for
information in order to do their schoolwork? I have no problem with
someone asking for bibliographic citations--it doesn't seem any
different from talking to a reference librarian and saying "Do you
have any good books on Tyrannosaurus?"--and asking us to verify
information in older books also seems reasonable. But "I am working
on a dinosaur report. I would like some information on Deinonychus
and other Theropods" sounds as though this person has done little or
no research and is trying to get us to do his work for him. I suppose
I may just be annoyed because I had to do my own research when I was
his age--I didn't have a friend or relative with a computer account
to ask a bunch of strangers, or otherwise find the information for me.
If you all decide I'm just being crotchety, you can ignore me. But
the following paragraph is _at least_ as relevant if you think we
should be answering such questions.

On a related question, assuming that someone here decides to answer
that question for him, how can he cite the information? Even if this
fifth grade class doesn't require footnotes, sooner or later we're
going to get one that does. "Thomas Holtz, USGS, Personal communication,
March 1995" may work, but "some random guy on the net said" is pushing
it, and a lot of us are random guys on the net, at least in terms of
expertise on dinosaurs--we have neither professional credentials,
employment in the field, nor printed reference works to fall back on.
Vicki Rosenzweig
New York, NY