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The 1999 British Informatics Olympiad Final
Card shuffling

Time allowed: 45 minutes

Consider the following (genuine) request the author received for a computer program:

Forgive the odd, and rather vague question, but I have for a while had the desire for a piece of software which could save us on the Arts end a lot of time (and error) by tracing reference to (including, but preferably not only, quotations of) a given text with a given body of literature.

How would you go about writing such a program? You are free to mention anything you feel would be relevant, such as algorithms, data manipulations, time/space considerations and general feasibility issues. You should outline your approach rather than go into specific details; there is no need to write code, or detail any statistical tests (other than to mention where and on what you would use them).

The British Informatics Olympiad