Wednesday, 10 September 2008

10. Plagiarism (avoided)

UPDATE: (28 September 2008) This software worked when I reviewed it, but now I cannot get it to function. I am awaiting a reply from the developers. I shall remove this comment when I know it works again.

There are two types of plagiarism: purposeful and accidental. Purposeful plagiarism is when you claim something was your work when you knew it was not. Accidental plagiarism is when, for example, you are on the internet and rather than loose the text, you copy and paste it into your notes document. Then when you are rewriting it, you forget which is yours and which is not. Suddenly somebody else’s text appears in a document without a clear indication that it is not yours.

Before wide access to electronic information, this was not a major issue because a) people were not able to cut and paste, and b) there was no easy way to check is something was original. However, universities now have access to software that check for plagiarism. This is because too many people try to cheat. And as far as I am concerned, if they purposely attempted to deceive others, then they should be punished appropriately. But what of those who genuinely do it accidentally? Fortunately there is some help before you have to hand it in.

It is called Viper, and can be downloaded from In principle you upload your document to the software that sits on your computer, and then you click on Server and Web Search and it checks the internet for any document similar to yours by taking lots of short phrases and comparing it to what is already on the web.

1 comment:

Eva Gyarmathy said...

Useful for teachers to check students essays. :-)