I am looking for an old paper; I clearly remember that I have found it a few years ago but could not find the paper anymore. Not sure if it is proper to ask here. Anyway, the paper I am looking for is

Goldsmith, Deborah Louise
Homotopy of braids—in answer to a question of E. Artin. 
Topology Conference 
(Virginia Polytech. Inst. and State Univ., Blacksburg, Va., 1973),
pp. 91–96. Lecture Notes in Math., Vol. 375, Springer, Berlin, 1974.

But do let me know if it is improper to ask this type of question here.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you want to ask this on meta? (I.e., you are asking: Is question like this allowed?) Or maybe you wanted to ask on the main site. (So your question is where to find the paper.) $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 7:32
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    $\begingroup$ Related post on meta: “Help me find a paper”-type questions $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ Basically I am more interested in finding the specific paper mentioned. Not sure where should I look for it. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Nov 27, 2014 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ So it would be more appropriate to ask this on the main site. If your institution has access you can simply download it from the publisher; doi: 10.1007/BFb0064014. If not you can try to find someone who has access and is willing to send you the article. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @MartinSleziak! Just realize that my institution has access and I have already found the paper. Many thanks again for your kind assistance! $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Nov 27, 2014 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak I apologize for my poor memory... After finding this paper and when I save it, I found a copy in my computer. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Nov 27, 2014 at 7:57
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    $\begingroup$ Lame attempt for a joke: Of course you found a copy in your computer. That's what saving a file does. More seriously: No harm done, such things happen. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't know about it yet: ams.org/mathscinet is a tremendously helpful tool for finding published papers, if you have access to it. Otherwise, simply typing the title of the paper in google works 75% of the time, I'd say (whether it's on arXiv or on someone's personal page). $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


Based on my experience, it is certainly acceptable to ask for someone to summarize a narrow portion of a paper, eg. the proof of a Lemma or the requirements of a construction, or to help you locate a library resource that has the paper (if not available on-line).

However asking someone (other than the author) to send you an actual copy of a paper opens up some copyright issues that Math.SE should not be in the middle of, and there are also the logistical details of carrying out a delivery. In addition this would fall into the category of "unlikely to benefit future readers".

I'm not trying to be the copyright police here, but I do think we can draw a useful line that should not be crossed.

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    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, if the question is phrased, for example, as "How can I find an old article from LNM? Is it possible that they are available online?" I'd think that such question would be ok. And if OP mentions in some question that they are not able to find some paper (in any kind of question), I would not see as a bad thing offering the paper to the OP. (I would prefer to do it per e-mail, outside the site, but most users don't advertise their e-mail address in the profile.) I've made similar points in an answer to a related question. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify: My comment was intended as a reaction to "unlikely to benefit future readers" and copyright issues in your post. I'll add that there have been some copyright related discussions on meta in the past. For example, this post seems relevant. (And maybe a few other posts.) $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 7:06

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