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Hello,

I am reading a mathematics textbook (which one is irrelevant, and I do not wish to insult the author if (s)he happens to be reading this). One section relies quite a bit on an appendix and results from several other places, including farther in the book, which leads to a bit of circularity.

In the process of reading it an unwinding it I've decided to rewrite the entire thing, unroll it into a single cohesive section and resolve the singularity, while keeping the content (with a few patches and filled-in holes) essentially the same. It's a total of about 40 pages in the book, but 15-20 unwound.

Obviously me producing this document on my own is just note-taking, and publishing such a thing is silly, but is something in-between acceptable to the community? That is, polishing the document and hosting it on my (public but not well-known) website.

Even with attribution, would this be considered plagiarism? Or even if not, would it be considered rude? I'm a third year graduate student, just barely entering this community, and this seems the best place to ask about social norms within it.

Apologies if this is considered off-topic, but it seems to be related to publishing and plagiarism, which are topics occasionally taken up by this forum.

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6  
Plagiarism usually means direct copying of a text without attribution. In general there's nothing wrong with putting your own spin on old material, and people so it all the time, with varying leeks of spin. As long as attributions of results are there, no one can really complain. –  Ben Webster Aug 23 '11 at 3:40
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What you are suggesting, with attribution included, is a public service. All it needs is a few sentences up-front about "These are my own notes distilled from [Book]" and "No originality is claimed, except possibly in Lemma 4, which obviates [Book, Lemmas 5,6,7]". –  Allen Knutson Aug 23 '11 at 3:44
3  
Cry Madoc, and let slip the Leeks of Spin ... –  Yemon Choi Aug 23 '11 at 3:53
1  
Bad puns aside, I agree with Ben and Allen -- this sounds a laudable undertaking. –  Yemon Choi Aug 23 '11 at 3:55
2  
Also, while similar questions have been asked before on MathOverflow, often the answer is "ask your advisors/mentors". The chief reason is that the answer often depends on locale. Your university might have policies in place which forbid or restrict this kind of action, or at the least require some formal disclaimer. Definitely not an ideal question for MathOverflow, according to some parts of the community. Gerhard "But I Like The Question" Paseman, 2011.08.22 –  Gerhard Paseman Aug 23 '11 at 4:07

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