Searching File Manager for Similar Files
- 1.How does the search for similar files work?The Information System constantly analyzes the contents of the plain text files stored in its data pool, i.e. those accessible via the File Manager.
To search for the files similar to the one you are analyzing utilizing the File Manager, please select the file and use the Similar documents option situated in the Operations menu, or click on the eggs icon placed on the the Manager's toolbar. The System should return those of the files you are authorized to browse that have similar contents. Its also returns the similarity rate, i.e. the percentage indicating to what extent the files returned are similar to the specified one. The similarity search can be performed on the level of a single file, several files, a single folder, and a tree of folders - depends on how many of these you select using the checkboxes situated to the left of their names. To select several contiguous lines, check the first one and then press and hold the Shift key and click on the last line of the batch. Comparing the files takes some time, so please be patient. Provided you upload a new file into the System, it is usually analyzed and ready for the search within an hour of its upload. After being triggered, the search application looks for similar files regardless of the faculties, courses, terms, and sections under which they have been uploaded into the System ignoring the bibliographical information contained in these.
- 2.What is the similarity search good for?The two most frequent uses of the application are searching for a file containing text on a 'similar' topic - an option that proves useful when you do not want to search for specific keywords - and checking a student's thesis/paper to make sure he/she has not plagiarized someone else's.
- 3.I want to make sure my student has not plagiarized someone else's work. What shall I do?Before assessing the quality of a student's thesis/paper, locate it using the following path:Personal Administration File ManagerAfter entering the File Manager, select all theses/dissertations from the drop-down menu and then enter the personal identification number (učo) of the student whose thesis/dissertation/paper you want to check. Finally, select the appropriate file and use the Similar documents option situated in the Operations menu, or click on the eggs icon () placed on the Manager's toolbar. The application displays a list of the files it found similar to the one previously specified. To find out more about their similarity, please click on Similarities. Finally, it is always up to a human reader (you, a supervisor, reader) to decide to what extent two texts are similar to each other and whether one is a copy of the other or not. Provided you cannot search for similar texts for whatever reason, you may ask, for instance, your secretary to do so for you.
- 4.I would like to compare a file in IS with a text file that is outside of it. How shall I proceed?Provided you have a text file (or a file from which the text one can be created, i.e. not, for instance, an image), upload it into the File Vault, your File Depository, My Web, or Study Materials section. Once you have done so, the Information System will start including it in its detection mechanisms. The System is also capable of comparing files with texts posted on certain external document servers without you having to copy and upload the texts into it. However, if you find an external document server which you suspect of being a source of plagiarized information, upload the text it hosts into the File Vault. You can also compare two texts originally located outside the System after uploading both of them into, for instance, your File Depository.
- 5.I suspect my students of plagiarizing theses written by the students of another school. Is there anything I can do about it?Yes, there is. Provided you (or other members of your department/faculty) suspect your students of this kind of plagiarism, ask your faculty technician to arrange for the other school's archive of theses/dissertations to be copied into the Information System.
- 6.I am a student and I would like to make sure that my text is really 'original'. How shall I go about it?Before submitting your text to your teacher, upload it into your File Depository and give the System some time to process and analyze it. Then, select it using the checkbox situated next to its name and click on the eggs icon (or open the Operations menu and click on Similar documents).
- 7.My students are submitting their assignments in the form the Information System cannot convert
into the search-compliant version. What am I supposed to do?If this is the case, do not allow them to do so and insist on the Word or PDF formats.
- 8.What does the application used to search for similar files have to do with File Vaults?The File Vault is a section where students can share their electronic material without any teacher's intervention. The downside of File Vaults, which cannot be eliminated, is that the students also use them for sharing the drafts and final versions of their assignments. Teachers are therefore recommended to change their assignments on a regular basis to prevent such an activity. If this is not possible, they should inform their students that they regularly search for similar texts and thus discourage them from copying each other's assignments. Provided you find your students' assignments posted somewhere on the Internet, you can copy them into the File Vault. Doing this once only, i.e. under one term, suffices since once uploaded into the File Vault, the files will always be included in the future searches. Note: The File Vaults do not make the information on who has uploaded files into them public.
- 9.How does the search algorithm work?The algorithm compares all the text files while skipping the ones that are extremely small (containing only a few words). The algorithm supports Czech, English, and Slovak. The students should be warned that the algorithm can compare their theses/papers/assignments with all the files hitherto uploaded into the System and therefore copying someone else's work might get them in trouble. The System developers plan to continue increasing its efficiency and extending the database of files that is searched each time the algorithm is triggered with the sources situated outside the Information System. The database currently used for the searches contains more than 200 thousand files (theses, dissertations, papers, assignments, etc.).
- 10.What if the application returns the message 'The document has probably not been compared correctly.
The comparison result may be inaccurate.'?This message is displayed when the application cannot find a sufficient number of words in the plain text file that is being compared. Please open the file (its extension is .txt) and ensure it has been generated correctly. If this is not the case, try to contact the user responsible for its existence and ask him/her to make sure the original file (e.g. a Word one) can be converted into the plain text one and, possibly, to upload the fixed version. An alternative solution is contacting the System administrators at firstname.lastname@example.org. A similar problem may also arise when you are trying to compare an HTML file containing too many words in its HTML tags.
- 11.What is the option of re-calculate similarity rate good for?The option allows you to re-compare similar files. You can use it in the situation where you want to compare a file (the original one) with another file previously uploaded into the System (e.g. one of those returned as similar to the former), but additionally edited. Checking the option and clicking on Search again makes the System take the latest changes in the latter into account and re-calculate the similarity rate. Once the re-calculation is complete, you are notified of the fact by e-mail.
- 12.Is it also the texts provided via the ROPOT applications that are included in the searches?Yes, it is. Provided an answer to a question of the :a type consists of more than fifty characters, the former is included in the search.
Every answer like this is automatically uploaded into the Study Materials section of File Manager (provided the ROPOT application represents part of it) by the System using the following path:Study Materials ROPOT applications Textual answers ROPOT application Student's nameIf the ROPOT application does not represent part of the Study Materials section, the answers are stored under the file containing the ROPOT description. To search for similarities in the answers, the teacher can use the following path:Work with ROPOT Answers search for similar files (use for anti-plagiarism purposes)An alternative way is selecting, for instance, the folder named Textual answers and clicking on the eggs icon.
- 13.What if I commit an act of plagiarism?Plagiarizing (copying) someone's work is considered to be a fraudulent and unethical act that has no place at any university. Passing someone else's text off as your own represents a violation of the copyright and may be treated as a legal offense eventually leading to expulsion from the school.
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