Writing Terminology

I would like to propose an open discussion on the use of terms described in the Devtome writing rules. This is only a proposed guide. I am not nor have I ever attempted a coup.

The idea struck me when seeing “Collated” being used to describe something describing derivative works. I had never heard collated as referring to finished publications or collections. I hope the following is helpful. Please feel free to add edits or change the information below using citations to justify our definitions.

Derivative Works:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.1)

The term “derivative work” seems to me to be exactly what the Devtome guide means when it states: “Collated work, which is largely based on another open source article, is also counted, although with a weighting of currently 0.3. The collated work can not be simply a copy of another article, it must have improvements and the type of improvements must be listed in the invoice.”2)

There are a few Devtome writers who have been the brunt of plagiarism hunts before, requiring very lengthy defenses against intellectual theft.

  1. Translating a text by inserting it into a software conversion program (like Google Translate), does not qualify as an derivative work, since it is Google’s software that is performing the translation.
  2. Spoofing a song is acceptable since it provides new insight to the audience not intended by the original composition.
  3. Older works, no longer under copyright or published before 1932, are acceptable but must show “editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications” to qualify as derivative.
  4. The work should demonstrate some degree of transformativeness.


Is a reference to an external source, but not a copy of the material in that source. It is simply a normal bibliographic reference to identify the book or media by title, publisher, author, location, page number referenced and usually the date of publication.

Collated Works:

Collation is the process of organizing material into a larger body of work. The example at Merriam-Webster is the “invisible part of the work of such a writer is collating and organizing all the research material, which is a slow, painstaking task that many writers skip or abbreviate.”3)

It is not an end product so much as it describes the process by which a work is compiled.

Collected Works:

Copyright.gov gives a nice description:

  • A “collective work” is a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.4)

Copyright infringement

The unauthorized use of someone else’s work by reproduction, distribution or in making derivative works without permission to use the material.

Excerpt or Quotation

Use of another work with a citation identifying the work where the original quote came from.


Representing another person’s work as your own, in whole or in part. An especially helpful definition of plagiarism is already included on Devtome, “Copying someone’s work without giving credits would easily earn you a bad reputation. To avoid this if your work is based upon another article, updated to include new information, be sure to include it on your “Users Page” under the collated heading.”5)


The change I am suggesting is to use Derivative instead of Collated with the inclusion of the plagiarism and copyright infringement definitions. I would also like to suggest that collated (or whatever term is used) material should not exist elsewhere online. We're trying to make things available for the community at large for common access and, hopefully, improving on materials that are not in digital form.

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