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NOTE: Your use of or submission to the SafeAssign(TM) services indicates your acceptance of the Terms of Use found here.


1) Are you launching a plagiarism prevention service?
Yes - as part of the Blackboard Beyond" Initiative, Blackboard announced the availability of a plagiarism prevention service at BbWorld Boston on July 10, 2007.  All Blackboard® clients with Enterprise licenses of the Blackboard Learning System" will have access to this new service.

2) What is SafeAssign?
SafeAssign" is a plagiarism prevention service, offered by Blackboard to its Blackboard Learning System, Enterprise, Vista Enterprise, and CE Enterprise License clients.  This service helps educators prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers.  In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and the importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content. 

SafeAssign is a part of the Blackboard Beyond family and is centrally hosted by Blackboard, like the rest of the Beyond products and services.  Although it is a new Blackboard service, it is based on a mature and proven technology that Blackboard acquired from Sciworth Inc. (MyDropBox) and enhanced to offer even better stability, performance, and integration with other Blackboard products. 

3) How does the tool work?
SafeAssign can be used in two ways. 

  1. Instructors can set up SafeAssignments" in their courses on Blackboard and let students submit papers to complete these assignments, in a way very similar to the one provided currently by Blackboard Learning System.  The papers will then be delivered to instructors through the Blackboard Learning System together with the SafeAssign Originality Reports, which details the results of the matching process. 
  2. Instructors may upload papers directly, without student involvement through the Direct Submit feature.

4) What information does SafeAssign provide in its reports? 
A SafeAssign Originality Report highlights any blocks of text in submitted documents that match reference sources, and links back to the matching documents on the Internet or in supported content databases.  SafeAssign reports also show similarity ratings for each matching sentence and allow instructors to view a line-by-line comparison of potentially unoriginal text from submitted papers and the matching external documents.

5) Can students view reports?
If intructors enable student viewing, each student can view the reports for their own submitted papers.

6) What training materials are available?
The following training materials are available to SafeAssign end-users:

  • User manuals in online (wiki) and printable formats. 
  • Frequently asked questions

7) What kind of user support is offered with the product?
Students can find a helpful resources such as manuals and how to articles on the SafeAssign wiki (  For help with assignment submission, students can contact the instructor of the course or their Blackboard Helpdesk.

8) What databases does SafeAssign currently use for plagiarism checking? 
SafeAssign currently checks all submitted papers against the following databases:

  • Internet - comprehensive index of billions of documents available for public access on the Internet;
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database with over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from '90s to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access);
  • Institutional document archives containing all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions;
  • Global Reference Database containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.

9) What is the Institutional Database?
The Institutional Database is the archive of papers submitted by students in your institution. Each institution's Institutional Database is stored in the central SafeAssign service and kept separate from other institution's databases. Papers are automatically added to this database upon submission and are stored in the central service to be checked against other papers submitted from your institution.  The Institutional Database is completely separate from the Global Reference Database which extends across institutions and students must volunteer their papers to.

10) What is the Release Statement?
The Release Statement is text included with every SafeAssignment to inform students that their paper will be compared to other sources through SafeAssign.  The specific text of your Release Statement is determined by your institution's System Administrator and is entered during configuration of the SafeAssign Building Block or PowerLink.
11) Will the tool be offered in multiple languages?
SafeAssign can generate originality reports for papers written in all alphabet-based languages with left-to-right writing. The user interface is currently only available in English.

12) Why was plagiarism prevention chosen as a new Beyond service? 
Plagiarism prevention is a popular service that helps instructors address an existing classroom issue in an efficient manner.  It has been used effectively to deter plagiarism and educate students about proper citation of sources, and is consistent with Blackboard's mission of using innovation and technology to empower educators. 

This product is offered as a Beyond service because, like other Beyond products, it is centrally-hosted by Blackboard and other than the SafeAssign Building Block" or SafeAssign PowerLink", it does not require any additional equipment or software on the client side.  It also includes the Global Reference Database, which is a shared resource created by the Blackboard user community to cooperatively prevent plagiarism.  

13) Who owns the  intellectual property rights for each submitted paper?
Blackboard does not claim any ownership rights on the content submitted to SafeAssign.

14) How long does it take to generate plagiarism reports?
Reports are not generated instantaneously - it usually takes from several seconds to few minutes to receive a report.

15) What file formats does SafeAssign support?
SafeAssign supports Word (DOC). Plain text (TXT), Rich text format (RTF), PDF, and HTML formats.  We anticipate supporting Office 2007 file format in the future.

Global Reference Database

1) How does your Global Reference Database work?
Blackboard's Global Reference Database is a separate database where students voluntarily donate copies of their papers to help prevent plagiarism.  It is separated from each institution's internal database, where all papers are stored by each corresponding institution, and students are free to select the option to check their papers without submitting them to the Global Reference Database.

2) Are you claiming ownership on the content submitted to your Global Reference Database?
No, we are only authorized to store extra copies of student papers that were volunteered and use them for plagiarism prevention purposes.

3) What is the size of your Global Reference Database?
Our Global Reference Database is a new product, so its current size is not an indication of its future potential.  We expect accelerating growth, based on rapidly increasing adoption of this new service among our clients. 

4) What if a student decides to remove a paper from the Global Reference Database?
Students submit their papers to the database voluntarily and agree not to remove papers in the future.

5) Are students forced to submit papers to the Global Reference Database by your company or by institutions they are enrolled into?
All papers are submitted to the Global Reference Database voluntarily, and students are free to choose not to submit their papers to this database.  Instructors can still use the service effectively, even when students choose not to submit their papers to the Global Reference Database.


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