(via IP) I am constantly amazed by the business models made possible through the Internet. Turnitin.com is an anti-plagiarisim site – the student’s work is submitted to the site, the site then makes a “digital fingerprint” of the work and compares it to thousands of others. It feels eerie and somehow wrong, and a student at McGill University agreed. CNN reports he won a university review case regarding the use of the system.
Is this a search-related story? I think so. Turnitin.com has to search the web for papers, apply their algorithm, then compare submitted papers against their database. Newly submitted papers add even more to the database. Given the site has contracts with 3000 universities, this database must be massive. Trusting Turnitin.com’s algorithms to determine what is “unique” without some level of review and transparency strikes me as insane. In my own classes, i’d never force my students to use such a system. But then, perhaps it would have helped the NYT in the Blair case….