Discovering Authorship of a Text
or Is there such a thing as a literary fingerprint?

Web References and Other References

  1. Aurhor Unknown: Tales of a Literary Detective by Donald Foster, Henry Hold & Co., 2000

  2. A review of Don Foster's Author Unknown published on Slashdot, Jan 22, 2001

  3. The Bard's Fingerprints: Donald Foster Uses high-powered Computer Tests to Search for Shakespeare's Hidden Hand. His Critics Challenge Him on Every Move. By Caleb Crain, July/August 1998

  4. I was branded a call-girl blogger by Sarah Champion, The Observer, March 21, 2004

  5. Donald Foster gets it wrong, again, and again

    One by one, Foster's claims proved phony, including his original claim to fame--the identification of an obscure poem as the work of William Shakespeare. Finally, in 2003, Foster renounced the whole idea of relying on computer-generated similarities to identify authorship.

    Foster's fallibility may have been a surprise to the general public, who had been hearing extravagant praise of Foster since 1996 for his supposed triumphs in unmasking the author of Primary Colors and identifying Theodore Kaczynski as author of the Unabomber Manifesto. But it was no surprise to Shakespearean scholars when their colleague Professor Foster crashed and burned. His dishonesty, arrogance, and lack of integrity had been well known since Foster made his first claim to fame.the identification of an obscure Elizabethan funeral elegy as the work of none other than William Shakespeare.

  6. The Secret Wars of Judi Bari by Mark Hertsgaard, The Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2005

    Mark Hertsgaard's skeptical review of Kate Coleman's book The Secret Wars of Judi Bari

    People say lots of things to an investigative reporter; it's a reporter's responsibility to verify information and evaluate a source's relevance, motives and credibility before publishing it. You can't cherry pick "facts" to fit your thesis. Yet Coleman's case against Sweeney rests largely on just such a rickety foundation. She cites the conclusions of Vassar College English professor Don Foster, who first identified Joe Klein as the anonymous author of "Primary Colors" after comparing the novel's linguistic idiosyncrasies with those of the Time columnist. Foster analyzed three threatening letters in the Bari case that warned of, then exulted in, the bombing.

    Coleman says Foster decided Sweeney most likely wrote the letters. But she fails to mention that his credibility has been shattered by his two-faced involvement in the murder case of child beauty queen JonBen t Ramsey. Foster first assured the girl's mother that he could clear her, for he had identified the real killer, this time from textual analysis of Web postings. When his identification was proved wrong, Foster told police in Colorado that he had determined that the mother was the killer after all. CBS' "48 Hours" revealed all this about Foster in 1999, so Coleman must not have examined Foster's bona fides closely before reporting his version of the car bombing.

  7. Hatfill strikes back in anthrax case by Jim Popkin, MSNBC, Oct. 4, 2004

    Steven Hatfill, who was publiicly branded a "person of interest" in the FBI anthrax investigation sues Donald Foster for his claim that Hatfill was guilty in the Anthrax attacks.

  8. Plagiarism in natural and programming languages: an overview of current tools and technologies (PDF) by Paul Clough, Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield, July 2000

Ian Kaplan, February 2006

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