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Subject:

Re: Effectiveness of matching internet data in the JISC PDS

From:

John Mottley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Plagiarism <[log in to unmask]>, John Mottley <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 13 Jun 2003 16:37:44 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (90 lines)

Hi,

We have found the same thing - although to be fair, it will take time for
iParadigms to build up their database. We also found that iParadigms are not
yet archiving outdated sites that are no longer available, but they say they
intend to do this. Also material from restricted access sites will be added
to their database as they get work containing it submitted for detection. But
it is going to be hard to convince staff to use the service if it regularly
comes up with nil results when Google seems to give positive returns much
more frequently. 

I am looking into advising our staff to use three tactics:

1. If internet plagiarism is suspected in the odd piece of work then
initially to use Google and maybe AltaVista search engines to confirm

2. If this turns up a positive result and/or batch files are to be screened -
then use the JISC detection service for internet plagiarism to give better
coverage of the whole document and statistics (if any). The use of this has
other implications for students who might plagiarise and then see that the
service does not pick up their plagiarised work and so become merrily
confident that they can get away with it. That's why other screenings should
be done as described here - a multi-pronged approach.

3. Use the free version of CopyCatch to check for collusion among a batch of
submitted work

Does anyone else have any suggestions for a strategy?

Regards,

John Mottley


-----Original Message-----
From: David Davies [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: 13 June 2003 16:16
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Effectiveness of matching internet data in the JISC PDS


Dear all

I'd like to ask how others are finding the internet detection feature in the
JISC PDS. We've been doing some tests of the service before using it on real
assessments. We created some dummy documents containing verbatim copy/paste
material from internet sources found using Google and have uploaded these to
the JISC Plagiarism Detection Service (PDS). Unfortunately the service didn't
detect any internet matches in our test files, though it did successfully
detect similarities between other dummy documents we'd previous uploaded (i.e
a successful database match).

My supposition is that as Google indexes less than 50% of the Internet,
indeed according to some estimates considerably less than 50%, then any
database containing data at least as comprehensive as Google's will still
only represent a fraction of what's really available on the web. I'm not sure
what resources the JISC PDS has access to but I doubt it has superior data to
Google's. It may however have access to Google's data as Google provides an
XML-based API into its databases.

In addition, as search engines are unable to index documents protected by
authenticated web sites, such as a password restricted pay-per-use essay
laundering service or even bibliographic database such as Medline, these
kinds of data will be always be excluded from the plagiarism detection
service's gaze.

Saying that, even access to 10% of the data on the internet is still a
substantial amount of data that in itself might readily find it's way into
student's written material, attributed or not.

However, our initial experience of the JISC PDS has not been too encouraging,
at least not in respect to the claims for matching scripts against Internet
data.

How reliable have others found the Internet matching claims?

Cheers,

David

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