Automatic Plagiarism Detection

By Deane Barker on April 6, 2004

Turnitin: Thank God they didn’t have this when I was in college. Found via this news article.

At the heart of our plagiarism prevention system are our customized Originality Reports, which contain extensive documentation of any potential plagiarism. Any text in the paper that is found by our system to be unoriginal appears underlined, color-coded, and linked to its original source. All work submitted to Turnitin is checked against three databases of content…

(Oh relax, I’m kidding — all my papers were sucky enough to be verifiably attributable to me…)



  1. This service has two problems…

    1. I post EVERYTHING I write for school to my website. So I have the potential to set off an unwarranted alarm in a less-than-savvy teacher.
    2. Turnitin’s robot misbehaves horribly. It’s rabid and ignores exclusion protocols. I had to mod_rewrite it to oblivioun.
  2. Er… Actually, I use ISAPI_Rewrite, but I figured I would save myself the trouble of defending Windows again.

    “False alarm, everybody back in the van…”

  3. Oh, you mean that system whereby you have to write a module in C++ and compile it instead of just entering one line in a text file?

    “Everybody out of the van. The hit is on…”

  4. No, ISAPIrewrite is a modrewrite clone for IIS. Sadly, the one feature that they didn’t clone is the price ($69/server). Does it work well enough to justify the cost, owen? And does the free version have enough features to be useful? I have a couple of IIS boxes it would come in handy on.

  5. I really wanted clean URLS for my CMS, and I have virtual sites, so I had to pay. Was it worth it? Yeah, I’d say so, since I know of no other IIS alternative that works as well. Nonetheless, I have never gotten the exclusive proxy feature to work, and it is not a complete re-implementation.

    Remember that in the free version, you’ll have to reset the DLL (restart the W3 service, more or less) whenever you update the redirect rules. The pro version doesn’t have this limitation.

    I should fess up here and say that I moved to IIS/Windows from Apache/Linux, and was already hooked on mod_rewrite before I noticed this gaping lack of functionality in IIS.

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