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Project Background

The Spot the Difference! project set out with two principal objectives:

  • to investigate the nature, scope and extent of visual plagiarism in learning and teaching in the arts;
  • to pilot the application of cuttng edge visual search technologies developed by the University of Surrey to the issue
    of visual plagiarism.

The project has been highly successful on both counts, and has also enabled unfunded partners (the Arts University College at Bournemouth; University College Falmouth; the University of the Arts London; and the University for the Creative Arts) to briefly focus and reflect upon how visual plagiarism can be addressed more effectively within learning
and teaching.

The team therefore propose to broaden dissemination of the project outcomes to the wider higher education community through three international conferences: ALT-­‐C 2012 (Manchester); EVA 2012 (London); and the International Plagiarism Conference (Newcastle).

Benefits and audience

The team will target academic and professional support staff within the visual arts. Research findings from the current project indicate that both these groups of staff have key roles to play in developing knowledge and understanding of visual plagiarism within learning and teaching. The role of academic staff in learning and teaching is self evident, however library, learning support and technologists all have a significant supporting role in embedding innovative practice effectively within their insittutions. Specifically EVA 2012, the International Plagiarism Conference and ALT-­‐C will target these audiences. The presentations will focus on encouraging the audience to appreciate and reflect upon the nature, scope and extent of visual plagiarism within learning and teaching, not only within the arts, but also in other academic disciplines where images are used in addition to text as a method of student assessment. The audience will also be given the opportunity to engage with the iTrace demonstrator service and will be invited to explore the potential and impact that technology has to offer learning and teaching in this area.

Dissemination will also provide a valuable opportunity for the project team to seek feedback on the iTrace demonstrator service; to meet with potential partners; to consider new and innovative applications and opportunities; and to seek appropriate funding and sustainability solutions.

Project Outputs and Outcomes

The overarching deliverable is to disseminate the project findings and iTrace demonstrator service by means of conference presentation and demonstration. The presentations will outline the scope, method and outcomes of the project and provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • explore the nature, scope and extent of visual plagiarism
  • investigate and test the demonstrator service (
  • provide the project team with valuable feedback

Anticipated outcomes of these conferences include: dissemination of the technical details and the specification of the visual search engine underpinning iTrace; promotion and increased awareness of iTrace's capabilities in the visual plagiarism domain; and securing follow-­on funding to develop the pilot service.

Anticipated outcomes for the audience include: appreciating the nature, scope and extent of visual plagiarism; understanding the breadth and method of the Spot the Difference! project; testing and uploading an image to the demonstrator service; and appreciating the scope, limitations and potential of the demonstrator service.

Project Staff

Project Team

Leigh Garret
Project role: Principal Investigator
Director Visual Arts Data Service
University for the Creative Arts

Amy Robinson
Project role: Co-­‐Investigator
Collections Manager
Visual Arts Data Service
University for the Creative Arts

Documents & Multimedia

Start date
1 May 2012
End date
28 September 2012
Funding programme
e-Learning programme
JISC e-Learning Embedding Benefits Programme
Lead institutions
University for the Creative Arts