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Document Anonymization Tool, Version 0.5

The Privacy, Security and Automation Lab (PSAL)
Drexel University, Philadelphia PA


  1. Set Up
  2. Development
  3. Credits

#Set Up


Anonymouth is a Java-based application that aims to give users to tools and knowledge needed to begin anonymizing documents they have written.

It does this by firing up JStylo libraries (an author detection application also develped by PSAL) to detect stylometric patterns and determine features (like word length, bigrams, trigrams, etc.) that the user should remove/add to help obsure their style and identity.

Though Anonymouth and it's team works hard to provide you with tools to help remove your identity from documents you have written, WE CAN IN NO WAY GUARANTEE THAT YOUR DOCUMENT IS ANONYMOUS OR NOT ANONYMOUS. Anonymouth is always giving you it's best guess, it's best idea of where your document stands, though that should not any any time be taken as an absolute (for example, you could have forgotten to remove your name from the document and Anonymouth has no way to know that that's your name and should remove it). What we can say is Anonymouth is only as good as you make it, and when used right can be helpful in guiding your document towards the right direction.

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Java 7 is required to run Anonymouth. If you don't yet have it, get it at Oracle's website here and follow the installation instructions provided there.

If you are unsure whether or not you have it installed, follow these steps to see:

  • OS X:
    1. Open up Terminal (Applications/Utilities)
    2. Type "java -version" without the quotes
    3. If you see something like java version "1.7.x_xx" then you're ready to go! If not, then that means you most likely don't have Java 7 installed, in which case you should go to the download link above
  • Windows:
    1. Follow the instructions here: if you have version "1.7.x_xx", then you're good to go! If not, then that means you most likely don't have Java 7 installed, in which case you should go to the download link above

If you are using Eclipse, also make sure that Java 7 is your selected compiler by checking Preferences/Java/Compiler and is an included Library in your java Build Path (Not sure how to do this? Google is your friend).

Anonymouth requires the included jsan_resources directory in it's running directory (The main Anonymouth directory containing lib, src, etc.). It should be in the correct directy by default.

Anonymouth requires a corpus (basically a database of other authors and documents they have written) to run. It needs this so it can classify your documents with respect to these other documents and their styles so that Anonymouth can give you an idea of how anonymous it thinks your document is and what features to remove/add to help you get there. Three different corpi are included in the project directory for you to choose and are located at:

  • ./anonymouth/jsan_resources/corpora/amt
  • ./anonymouth/jsan_resources/corpora/drexel_1
  • ./anonymouth/jsan_resources/enron_demo

Though we included corpi, you are more than welcome to use any other corpus you may have. It is recommended to use many different combinations of authors so you can get the best posisble picture of where your document stands anonymously with respect to others.

Anonymouth also needs the following jars in the lib directory (everything should already be included):

Package NameVersion
microsoft translator0.6.1
Stanford postagger-

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There quickest and easiest way to install Anonymouth is to clone or download the zip of the Anonymouth github project here

And then import this project as an existing project into Eclipse (or clone and import directly within Eclipse if you have the Eclipse eGit plugin).

This is currently the only ready way to compile and run Anonymouth. We will be including a updated build file soon so that you may build and run Anonymouth easily within the command land, but sadly it hasn't been done yet so this is the only option currently

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###How to Build and Run

Once Anonymouth is all set up in Eclipse, you need only run ThePresident from the package edu.drexel.psal.anonymouth.gooie to begin using it.

Please note that there are two main package categories, JStylo and Anonymouth. The majority of Anonymouth developement should be in the Anonymouth packages as Anonymouth simply uses the JStylo libraries for parts of the initial document process, so beginners need only concern themselves with the Anonymouth packages.

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###Basic Logic Flow

#####↓ ---LAUNCH---

Setup and start up: anonymouth.gooie.ThePresident

Should never be accessed in any other class (or at least limit it). It's only purpose is to initialize the main class and other start up classes.

  • Readies and displays splash screen
  • Prepares the Logger
  • Initializes the GUIMain instance (and with it all Anonymouth class instances)
  • Displays the start window, which from there it takes over


Start up window: anonymouth.gooie.StartWindow

The first window that shows up (not counting the splash screen) when Anonymouth loads up. Allows the user to change advanced processing settings, access the pre process set up wizard, or start Anonymouth


Initial document processing begins immediately with: anonymouth.engine.DocumentProcessor

Inititalized within GUIMain as should nearly all Anonymouth class instances, this holds the main method and thread that handles processing and reprocessing documents. All processing events can be traced back to this class.


Main GUI Code: anonymouth.gooie.GUIMain

The main gui window is displayed. This is also the central "hub" for Anonymouth. This should be the main instance center, and anytime you want to access code from other classes from another class you more than likely will be going through this.

  • Houses and initialized nearly all class instances in Anonymouth
  • Lays out and creates the main Anonymouth window

From here the logic flow depends largely on what the user does:

  • If they're editing in the editor, the main class handling that is anonymouth.googie.EditorDriver
  • If they are using translations the main class handling that is anonymouth.gooie.TranslationsPanel
  • If they are using word suggestions, the main class handling that is anonymouth.gooie.WordSuggestionsDriver
  • If they are changing Preferences, the main class handling that is anonymouth.gooie.PreferencesWindow
  • etc.

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###Basic Class Structure

#####---Naming Convention---

For the most part, Anonymouth splits UI objects into two classes: [Class name]Panel/Window and [Class name]Driver. By convention and a general guideline, the Panel/Window class:

  • Creates and lays out all swing components
  • Handles all get, set, and is methods (if any)
  • Handles assert methods (if any)
  • Handles UI update/panel switch methods (if any)

While the cooresponding Driver class:

  • Handles all listeners
  • Hanldes most backend/data manipulation and updating

Again, these are just general guidelines. Sometimes it makes more sense to just have one class handle everything if it's a small object, or sometimes it doesn't make sense to have a seperate Panel/Window class but it does to have a Driver class, etc. You just need to use your best judgement on what will make things more organized and easier to understand.

#####---Package / Organizing Convention---

Anonymouth loosly follows these guidelines for class organization in packages:

  • anonymouth.engine For all processing code and any classes you deem "enginey" (for example, HighlighterEngine, VersionControl, etc.)
  • anonymouth.gooie For all classes displaying or creating swing components and their respective Driver classes
  • anonymouth.helpers For classes that aren't necessarily Anonymouth specific, but are used by Anonymouth for general purposes and tasks (for example, FileHelper, ScrollToTop, ImageLoader, etc.)
  • anonymouth.utils For classes that serve only as a means for storing and manupulating data (For example, TaggedSentence, TaggedDocument, Word, TextWrapper, etc.)

There are still quite a few classes that are clearly where they don't belong, so feel free to oragnize Anonymouth so that it best fits these guidelines.

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###To Do List Add features as they are conceived and strikethrough as they are completed ([1] means most important and [5] means relatively small and not particularly a priority at the moment)

  • [1] AUTOMATE AS MUCH OF THE ANONYMIZATION PROCESS AS POSSIBLE. This should be the top priority as of now, see Andrew for the plan and details.
  • [1] An internal thesaurus must be implemented to help users change words to remove (that or nicely implement the one built into the system, preferable if possible)
  • [2] An intelligent method to search and filter through words to add (start with simple search box, then possibly extend to automatic filtering based on synonyms?)
  • [5] The clusters window should be updated to be easier to understand and use (it's hidden away in Window > Clusters)

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###Known Bugs Add bugs as they are discovered and strikethrough as they are completed ([1] means fatal or breaks usability and [5] means relatively small and does not have much of an impact on usability)

  • [1] During processing on OS X (though the problem may extend to other operating systems as well) the Stanford POS tagger is extremely prone to breaking due to a fatal threading issue which results in heap space or out of memory exceptions. This absolutely MUST be fixed.
  • [2] The threading with the words to add refresh is not that great, fails to refresh at times and throws exceptions every once in a while.
  • [3] For whatever reason, Anonymouth does not seem to process or recognize all cap words LIKE THIS when working in the editor.
  • [5] The max features slider in Preferences does not work as expected at times and is a little finicky.
  • [5] Currently Anonymouth is all running on the initial thread which should NOT be the case. This should be done in a GUI creation and show task thread, though when I tried this in the past it breaks the slash screen.

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P.I. Dr. Rachel Greenstadt:

Developed by:

  • Andrew W.E. McDonald
    • Forward questions or concerns pertaining to Anonymouth in general or document processing to
  • Marc Barrowclift
    • Forward questions or concerns pertaining to Anonymouth's UI or front end/editor to
  • Jeff Ulman
  • Joe Muoio

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Anonymouth was released by the Privacy, Security and Automation lab at Drexel University in 2011 under the AGPLv3 license. A copy of this license is included with the repository/program. If for some reason it is absent, it can be viewed here.

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