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New LexisNexis CopyGuard Verifies Content Originality
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Posted On August 29, 2005
It's hard to miss the news of intellectual property (IP) infringements. Several high-profile plagiarism scandals in the mainstream media (including The New York Times, USA Today, etc.) have brought the issues to the public and have left the media scrambling to regain trust. Now, information provider LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com) has teamed up with iParadigms (http://www.iparadigms.com), a company known for providing plagiarism detection in the academic world, to offer a new IP theft-detection solution to the media and business community. The new LexisNexis CopyGuard helps detect plagiarism and copyright infringement and verify content originality. Users can compare a submitted document against more than 6.1 billion searchable documents available through the LexisNexis service, including deep archives, and 4 to 5 years of archived Web pages from iParadigms. Pattern-matching technology identifies any suspect passages and provides an originality report and a "similarity index."

"We have a vested interest in this growing problem because of our long-standing relationships with media companies that go back 25 years or more," said Elizabeth Rector, senior vice president of Corporate and Federal Markets for LexisNexis. "By teaming up with the leading provider of plagiarism detection solutions, we can help our customers protect themselves against this growing threat."

Rector said the company did an extensive review of plagiarism-detection technologies and concluded that iParadigm was tops in the market. She praised both the search speed and the quality of the text analytics that iParadigm provides. iParadigm offers both Turnitin, an Internet-based service used to assess the originality of academic work, and iThenticate, a commercial solution used by publishers, media, corporations, and law firms.

The new LexisNexis CopyGuard solution builds upon iParadigm's iThenticate product.

According to Malik AboRashid, iParadigm's director of business development and sales, the companies worked closely in a beta program with some media clients to develop a new user interface for LexisNexis CopyGuard that he says is superior to what is provided on iThenticate. The other main difference, of course, is the inclusion of the vast LexisNexis content that creates a much larger pool for checking. The iThenticate solution searches Internet content and selected full-text content provided by ProQuest. AboRashid indicated that the partnership with LexisNexis was important for iParadigm and that it would result in changes to its iThenticate solution.

LexisNexis CopyGuard accepts documents in the following file formats for checking: Microsoft Word, text, RTF, PDF, HTML, and Postscript. Users can also input text by doing a cut and paste. Users may specify the number of pages to check for a long document—for example, 10 pages of a 100-page report. Reports will show documents side-by-side for comparison with underlining and color coding of matching text, percentages of text originating elsewhere, and links to the original sources. A Content Tracking Report can help uncover sources of potential IP infringement by indicating all sources that exhibit similarity to a submitted document.

John Barrie, president and CEO of iParadigms, said this alliance with LexisNexis creates a cutting-edge product for the corporate market. "By bringing together a new search interface, the unparalleled depth and breadth of the LexisNexis database, our constantly growing archived copy of the Internet, and our advanced pattern-matching technology designed for searching whole documents, we have created a cutting-edge product that will benefit the media and business community," said Barrie. "There is a real need in the corporate market for an advanced solution like this."

Plagiarism expert Roy Peter Clark (vice president, senior scholar, and faculty member at the Poynter Institute) said that journalists and educators he's talked to would welcome a shield to protect themselves from embarrassing plagiarism incidents. He feels that the routine ethics training that is provided to journalists won't solve instances of moral lapses. He said: "Since language is by its nature creative and different, I'm distrustful of the notion of ‘accidental plagiarism.'" While he hadn't heard of the new LexisNexis CopyGuard, he feels that a system like it could prove quite valuable to media organizations. In fact, he commented, "Wouldn't it be cool if we all had plagiarism checkers on our PCs, like our spelling and grammar checkers?"

Industry analyst firm Outsell says its data shows that "copyright infringement is a risk management issue for enterprises and represents potentially large revenue losses for publishers. Look for more solutions like this for tracking and reining in unauthorized copying."

LexisNexis CopyGuard is available by subscription; pricing details were not disclosed.

Rector said that LexisNexis is very interested in developing applications that take advantage of text analytics technologies. She indicated that the debut of LexisNexis CopyGuard is "just the start of something very exciting." When asked if a reputation media monitoring product was in the works, she simply replied: "Stay tuned."


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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