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World Wide Web Policy
The WWW Working Group
May 21, 1997
The Carleton College World Wide Web provides easy, online access to College information resources and external information sources in support of the learning, teaching, scholarship, and institutional administration of the College.
Information on the Web is provided by members of the community, including faculty, staff, and students as a means of fostering collegiality, communication, and informed decision-making by facilitating access to current information
The Carleton Web is a cooperative project of the Office of Publications, Information Technology Services, and the information providers on campus.
Web Working GroupThe Web Working Group is a group formed to provide planning and direction for the continued growth and development of Carleton's Web.
The Working Group consists of at least five members, including both information providers and technical staff. The membership includes:
The Working Group meets to:
- Publications/External Relations
- Academic Computing
- Administrative Computing
Additional responsibilities may emerge as the Web grows and develops.
- define and evaluate the process for submitting information to the Web;
- implement programs to encourage use of and participation in the Web;
- discuss the function Carleton's Web, pointing out areas which aren't working well and proposing solutions;
- discuss general structural changes or additions, as necessary;
- address broad design/visual consistency issues;
- discuss changes or additions to the general guidelines for information providers;
- discuss the effect of technological changes and advances on Carleton's Web implementation.
Ownership of InformationThe scale of a web site -- both in number of documents and number of departments and individuals providing those documents -- and the rate of growth and change within such a system precludes any systematic review of published material by a single individual or group. This proposal, therefore, relies on a distributed system of information ownership, which has the following characteristics:
The World Wide Web offers an excellent medium for personal expression, and many institutions have chosen to allow faculty, staff, and students to publish personal pages which are accessible from within the Web structure. The Web Working Group supports such publication, recognizing that the personal expressions and insights of members of our community are an important part of College's identity.
- Each department or office that publishes information on the Web has full responsibility for the content and currency of that information, just as they would for information which they publish by traditional means.
- As described in the electronic publication guidelines below, all documents are clearly labeled with ownership information so that responses to those documents can be directed to the appropriate individuals.
- As with information currently published by traditional means, the College exercises no overall editorial control over documents published on the Web, beyond the general content and stylistic guidelines described below.
It is important, however, that visitors to Carleton's Web be able to clearly distinguish between official publications from offices and departments and unofficial publications from members of the community. Allowing individuals to publish freely may also have legal implications for the College.
Recent court action* holds that on-line providers are responsible for the content of messages sent by their members if the provider claims to exercise editorial control over its subscribers' messages. Carleton will claim no editorial control over material maintained in the individual accounts of staff, faculty and students. To keep a visible distance from "official" Carleton information on the home page, disclaimer notices should appear on personal pages of faculty and staff. Links to personal pages of students and student organizations will be grouped in a clearly labeled area accessible only through designated parts of the official structure. Pages of students, student organizations, or alumni will not be physically stored on or served from the primary server. The Web Working Group believes such steps will prevent legal complications should inappropriate or unlawful messages make their way onto Carleton's Web structure.
The Standard DisclaimerAll faculty and staff personal pages should contain a graphic element at the top of the page which designates the page as personal and provides a link to the full text of the standard disclaimer. This disclaimer also appears in full on any page with links to student-maintained personal pages:
Postings to Carleton's World Wide Web by individuals and student organizations reflect their own thoughts, interests, and activities; they do not implicitly or explicitly represent official positions and policies of Carleton College. Individual page maintainers assume responsibility and liability for the content of their documents.
Please address all comments and other feedback to the owner of the page. For further assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, see the Carleton WWW Policy [this document].
The standard disclaimer page includes a link to this document.
Guidelines for Information ProvidersWithin a distributed publication system, it is important that all contributors abide by a certain minimal set of publication guidelines, both to ensure consistency in style and appearance throughout the official structure, and to provide clear indications of ownership and timeliness on all documents. Agreement to the following guidelines is a prerequisite to publication within the official Web structure. Web servers operated independently by college departments and organizations should also conform to these guidelines if they wish to be linked into the official structure.
Disputes or complaints about published information should be resolved with the information provider or through the College's existing judicial system, where appropriate.
- Content of WWW documents must be consistent with existing College policies, as described in the Student, Faculty, and Staff Handbooks.
- Documents must conform to existing College publications guidelines. The editorial style reference is the Chicago Manual of Style.
- Document content must fall within the limitations of applicable local, state, and federal laws (e.g. those governing copyright and libel).
- Carleton Web documents should be accessible and useful from all generally used Web browsers. The following guidelines reflect this goal:
- All official Web documents should conform to the HTML 2.0 specification. Limited use of addition extensions is permitted, as long as all pages display effectively in most graphical browsers and are usable in text-only and accessible browsers.
- All graphic elements must employ the ALT tag to provide a textual replacement for the image.
- Department first pages should includes the following elements:
This template is available from your computing support provider.
- The Carleton persistent navigation bar
- The name of the department or office in prominent text or graphic
- A document expiration or review date
- An attribution (who to contact) and modification date footer*
- All departmental pages should include the name of the department, both in the title of the document and prominently displayed at the top of the page.
- Initial personal pages of faculty and staff should include a link to the official disclaimer page. This link information and accompanying graphic are available from your computing support provider.
- Any links to student personal pages must be preceded by the standard disclaimer displayed in a prominent fashion. This disclaimer is available from your computing support provider.
- HTML Page titles which include the name of the College must use the full form, "Carleton College" rather than the shorter "Carleton". This helps prevent confusion with Carleton University.
- Documents published on the Web are public by default; information providers should take whatever steps are necessary to restrict information intended for campus use only.
- Within these guidelines, all other content decisions are left to the discretion of each department. Departments are encouraged to consult with their computing advisors and the Publications office as they develop their pages.
Footnotes:* e.g. Stratton Oakmont, Inc., et al. v. Prodigy Services Company, NY Supreme Court No. 31063/94 (May 24, 1995); Cubby Inc. v. Compuserve Inc., 776 F.Supp. 135 (SDNY 1991); Religious Technology Center, et al. v. Netcom On-Line Communication Services, Inc., et al., Case No. C-95 20091 RMW (N.D. Cal. 2/10/95). SEE http://www.cyberlaw.com/cylw1195.html for references.
* Departments should develop a consistent procedure for page attributions. If students are maintaining pages, they should be told whether to attach their own names to the pages they create and update, or whether pages should be attributed to a departmental contact person. Either approach is acceptable.
Last modified: Tuesday, 23-Oct-2001 11:56:31 CDT
by Mark F. Heiman, email@example.com