Bb Mailbag: Safe Assign


Welcome to the Blackboard Mailbag, where we feature a commonly asked question that has been hitting our mailbox recently: You’ll find an archive of all of the previous questions and answers on our website.  

Note:  Features may change with future updates.  

Q:  Is there a tool in Blackboard that I can use to check papers for plagiarism? 

A:  SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

SafeAssign is based on a unique text-matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material. Submissions are compared against several databases:

  • Global Reference Database: Contains over 15 million papers volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.
  • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
  • Internet: SafeAssign searches across the broader internet for matching text using an internal search service.
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform Journal Database: More than 3,000 publication titles, 4.5 million documents, and over 200 topical categories from the 1970s to the present time covering topics from Advertising to Women’s Studies.

Enable SafeAssign for an assessment

  • Open Assignment Settings or Test Settings in a new or existing assessment.
  • Under SafeAssign, select Enable Originality Report.
  • Select Check submissions for plagiarism with SafeAssign.
    • When you enable SafeAssign for the assessment, you can also allow students to view the Originality Report. If you allow multiple attempts, an Originality Report is generated for each attempt a student submits.
    • Choose whether to exclude submissions from the institutional and Global Reference Databases.
  • Close the layer. Your changes are saved!

Note: If you are enabling SafeAssign to check a draft and not the final paper you must enable the “exclude submissions” option.  Otherwise, their paper will be added to the Institutional or Global databases and when students submit their final paper the SafeAssign Originality report will check their final paper against the draft.

For more about SafeAssign, visit the Bb Instructor guide on this topic.


For additional FAQs and resources about Blackboard, visit, attend one of our workshops, or reach out to us with your availability and we will accommodate small groups and one-on-one sessions.

Have feedback or suggestions on features?  Blackboard’s parent company Anthology hosts The Idea Exchange.  This is a place specifically for Blackboard to track and manage enhancement requests. It allows for things like upvoting ideas and sharing development plans and statuses. You will need to create an account to access the Idea Exchange.


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