Agricultural Communications, Purdue University
An electronic newsletter with communication tips and information

August 1996

Grammar Trap: Who vs. Whom

"Who" and "whom" are pronouns that give a lot of folks trouble. So much trouble, in fact, that in informal speech and writing it's becoming permissible to use "who" in all cases.

But in formal situations, it's best to maintain the distinction between the two words.

What is it, you ask?

Use "who" when someone is the SUBJECT of a sentence, clause, or phrase.

Examples: Who called the meeting? The person who called the meeting was not very organized.

Use "whom" when someone is the OBJECT of a verb or preposition.

Examples: Whom did you invite to the meeting? For whom was the meeting called?

If there's a grammar trap you have trouble avoiding or you can share a tip that will help the rest of us avoid a grammar trap, please let us know.



"Do you have ideas for places I could distribute the Informational and Educational Media Catalog in my county?"

We took one day and delivered 1700 copies to several places in the Lafayette area. Here are the places we contacted:

Most places allowed us to leave a bundle of 40 copies. The library requested we contact the reference desk, and we were able to leave five copies with that desk.

We'll produce another catalog in May or June of 1997, and we hope to offer it in a slightly different format and size. We'd like to hear how you use the catalog, as well as how you see it could be improved.

In future issues of On-Target, we'll update you with the results of the survey questions from the 1996 catalog.

If you have any questions or comments, please send e-mail to or or, call Paula Dillard at (765) 494-6795 or Jane Wolf Brown at (765) 494-6946.

Question2: From Linda Mason, Department of Entomology

"How do you find out who holds the copyright to the material you want to use?"

Every individual item of material/media has its own clues as to who holds the copyright and how to get in contact with them.


It's usually a simple process to find out who owns the copyright for most material used in magazines, newspapers, and books. Contact the editor or publisher of these items. They can either grant you permission or let you know how to obtain the rights to the printed material.


When trying to find out who owns the rights to a photo you want to use, check with the publisher of the item the photo is used in. It works very much like tracking down rights to a specific print item.

Audio - Music

If you have the original packaging for the recording, you can contact the music publishing company and request how to obtain rights. Writing or calling them should give you the information you need. If you hear it on the radio, you can call the station or track down the original material via your local record store.

Audio - Spoken Word

If you heard something on the radio that you would like to use, contact the station to request where the source material originated. Then use that information to track it back to the source. Books-on-Tapes should work similar to a book. Use the publisher as your avenue of approach.


Usually at the end of the video you can check the credits to follow the trail to who produced the video. Check with the originating source on how to obtain the rights to video material.


Like video, most software, including CD-ROMS, list who produced the material either on the packaging or somewhere on the software. Check under the "About this..." selection for the production source.


With the Internet, things are not as simple. Because the Internet has been created mostly in a state of anarchy, much of the material used on it doesn't have easily identifiable designations for who produced what. And the other complicating issue is that there's a great deal of information used on the Net illegally or without permission of the originating source. Some investigation might be necessary to check the status of materials obtained from the Internet.

With every item you want, there could be a different path to finding out how to obtain copyright permission. Also remember, in many cases, you will be asked what you want to pay for obtaining the rights to use the material. However, in most cases, publishers will grant discounts for material used for educational purposes.

BE A GREAT COMMUNICATOR! Techniques to enhance your communication skills

Editor's Note: The following is the end of a four part series that was condensed from Eli Lilly's monthly magazine "Focus".

Part Four - Make Meetings Hit the Mark

Focus Groups: Part 2 - The Facilitator

The job description for a focus group facilitator reads like this: Must be good, objective listener. Ability to draw out information required. Knowledge of when to let the discussion flow and when to move on preferred. Sounds simple enough, but keeping your opinions to yourself and truly listening, can be difficult.

It's best for the facilitator to work from an outline of questions. Using prepared questions will help you cover your objectives. Be prepared to be flexible, though, as the group may head off in a direction that is useful, but unplanned.

If you've got some participants who don't seem to jump right in, you will have to encourage them to respond. Personality often dictates the ability to respond spontaneously. Some people have to be drawn out. You might ask them directly to respond. Example: "Al, what do you think about . . . ?"

Of course, the reverse is true. You may have a dominate person in the room. By redirecting your questions to a particular person, you might convey that it's time for someone else to share. If there is discussion between participants, all the better. Some great information comes out of these exchanges.

Who's Been Visiting Your Web Site? Part 3 - The Cookie File

If you use Netscape as your web browser, it's very likely there is a "cookie" file on your computer. A cookie file is a way for a web server to store information on your computer as you browse a web site.

What kind of information is stored in the cookie file? It may contain user registration information, items in an on-line shopping cart for an on-line shopping service, or the user preferences for a particular web site to enable that site to provide customized content. Cookie information for a particular web site may remain on your system and be used again on subsequent visits to that site.

Cookies can be a great tool for web programmers to provide additional services for users visiting web sites and a potential threat to some users concerned about security and privacy. In many instances, a user is unaware that cookie information is being written to her/his computer. Netscape Navigator version three has an option (under Options-->Network Preferences-->Protocols) to "Show an Alert Before Accepting a Cookie." With this option selected, you will be notified when a web site is about to store information in your cookie file.

This has been just a brief introduction to cookies. There are articles on the web that discuss cookies, the information the cookie file contains, how to use a cookie file, and the security and privacy issues involved. The following URL's are several references used in preparing this article on cookies. You may find them (and the links they include) useful for further reading:

Terry McCain

We want to hear from you. Do you have a communication question? Do you have a comment on this issue of "On Target"? If so, please e-mail any of our writers.

It is the policy of the Department of Agricultural Communication Service of Purdue University that all persons shall have equal opportunity and access to its programs and facilities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action employer. These materials may be available in alternative formats.