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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 Group

The 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:

Additional responsibilities may emerge as the Web grows and develops.

Ownership of Information

The 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.

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 Disclaimer

All 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

For additional information, see the Carleton WWW Policy [this document].

The standard disclaimer page includes a link to this document.

Guidelines for Information Providers

Within 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 Guidelines

Implementation Guidelines


* 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 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,