Sunday, September 24, 2006
I have mixed feelings about plagiarism-detection. Certainly, I do not wish to see a paper copied verbatim for a grade. On the other hand, some things are just so common that it is likely that more than one person may have the same idea. Perhaps using the same language to express that idea is what the argument is about, but I am afraid my thoughts on creation of content are still unsettled.
I suspect that much of this line of thought is headed toward a discussion of copyright enfringement, and if so, then I definitely have some off-center thoughts. For example, we already have Open Source, Copy-left and Public Domain issues to mull over. Thinking too hard and long about whether or not a thing is plagiarism, takes the wings off of thought.
Such a huge mountain of information as we face today, for me, is most likely to lead us to use other tools such as hyperlinking which actually shows the original document. It seems to me that the entire article is frequently more useful that some short quote from within the article. I think we live in changing times and that many of the rules that have worked well in the past will not work so well in the future. Mechanically or technologically searching for plagiarism seems rather costly, and I am not sure that it really benefits the student. Perhaps teaching more creative ways to express oneself has a better role here.
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