13 January 2009

Free Anti-Plagiarism Checkers

Some instructors love anti-plagiarism software adopted by their institutions and other instructors intentionally avoid it. The most frequently cited objection is the method used to fuel the checking engine: collecting and storing student-written content.

The alternative method for checking on plagiarism relies on comparing student work to published texts via the Internet. (Obviously, such a check does not provide protection against student papers being sold or shared.) These free resources do not require downloading software, which makes them attractive to instructors adopting their own strategies:

Google as checker:
http://www.google.com
Place quotation marks around a phrase and enter that into the search window. For best results, use key phrases rather than complete sentences.

The Plagiarism Checker:
http://www.dustball.com/cs/plagiarism.checker/
Straightforward application that utilizes Google API for the same results as searching through Google, but with an interface far less cluttered than a search page. Instructions are written with the teacher in mind.

Plagiarism Detect:
http://www.plagiarismdetect.com/
Instructions are written with the student in mind. The check can be made on text copy/pasted into a search box or on an uploaded file (.txt or .doc). Options for search areas are the web, PDFs, blogs, and books. Finally, the site offers "deep analysis" or "light analysis." The results include a percentage score (66.7% on my sample, which was a real case of student plagiarism) and a list of the sources found by the checker. By check-marking the sources, you can further identify the percentage by location. This site requires registration and log-in.

Copyscape addressing plagiarism from the other direction:
http://www.copyscape.com
Enter a URL and the checker will pull up other web pages that have the same text. Presumably, you would run the check if you think your own copyrighted material on the web is being plagiarized.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

1 comment:

James S said...

I personally use the http://www.copygator.com website to find plagiarized content. To me it has a number of benefits over copyscape and copyrightspot:

1. it's automated and brings me results instead of me searching for duplicated content. All i had to do was submit my feed and it started monitoring my feed showing me who's republished my articles on the web.

2. i get notified by email so it contacts me when it finds copies of my articles online.

3. i use their image badge feature to alert me directly on my website when my content is being lifted.

4. it's a free service as opposed the "per page" cost of copyscape/copysentry.