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A Golden Age of Digital Plagiarism Checking

26 September 2012

From The Digital Reader:

Providing numerous examples, [author Greg] Beato posits that we are “living in a golden age of fact-checking,” but instead of that happening before publishing, the burden has been shifted to afterward thanks to all the numerous informational resources that are out there at the public’s disposal, and the thousands upon thousands of netizens who are happy to put in some of their spare time doing the legwork.

And Beato doesn’t even bring up tools like Turnitin, the plagiarism checker which can check submissions against hundreds of thousands of web documents.

. . . .

One thing I’m curious about, though, is whether this plagiarism really is more widespread in the digital world, or simply more likely to get caught by the resources we now have. Were newspaper writers doing this same sort of thing before the Internet came about, and just not noticed as much because we didn’t have the resources to find the borrowing?

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader


2 Comments to “A Golden Age of Digital Plagiarism Checking”

  1. I wouldn’t be too impressed with these computer based AI checkers.

    As I have written before, they do a very crappy job. At my sisters college, one such tool said her homework was 30% plagiarised. When she checked the details, the program had listed common phrases like “The government”, “management principles” etc as being plagiarised.

    I can well imagine innocent people being accused of plagiarism by some stupid program, and then being forced to defend themselves against a witch hunt.

  2. I suspect that plagerism has been common, but we’re only starting to find it now.

    I think finding it, pre-internet, was a matter of luck. Now, it’s very difficult to hide it, even if the tools, as James says, aren’t perfect.

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