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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Author Identification (2003)

    I am a community college computer applications instructor. On rare occasion, I have a student who decides they want to take a shortcut to completing the lab assignment by copying the file of another student. I have used the file properties to catch a student on this sometimes. However, this is not a very reliable method as the student can easily change the author property. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might be able to ascertain the actual original author of a document? Since all assignments are created from scratch, this should be the same as the person turning it in. I do have students put their name as part of the file name and somewhere in the document itself, but again, this is another one of those things that is all too easy for the person who copies to change. The primary applications I am using are Word, Excel and Access.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Author Identification (2003)

    Welcome to Woody's Lounge!

    Office applications store some metadata in their documents. In Word, you can see these by selecting "Recover text from any file" in the "Files of type" dropdown in the File | Open... dialog. But if the student has specified "Remove personal information from file properties on save" in the Security tab of Tools | Options, these metadata are cleared, and there is no way to ascertain who originally created the file.

    With Word documents, you might compare documents to see how similar they are, but that is not very useful in Excel and Access.

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