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The World Wide Web is becoming an increasingly important information resource. It permits both institutions and individuals to access and distribute text and graphical information worldwide. UMSL servers provide access to the Web principally in order to (1) provide the most up-to-date information resources for its faculty, students, and staff; (2) provide an up-to-date and technologically sophisticated means of communication; and (3) enable the University community to easily develop and post information related to the campus mission.
The Web environment is a new and complex one, in which academic, legal, business, institutional, and social issues and values regularly collide. Some of the important issues include privacy, copyright, censorship, access, and the relationships between service provider and individual user. There is currently very little in legal precedent directly governing use of the Web. In general, legal concepts which have been used to decide cases of information "publishing" and "distribution" in print and print-related formats are being applied.
The working principles set forth in this document are an initial set of broad guidelines for use of the Web by members of the UMSL community. They are an effort to respect the campus's mission, commitment to academic freedom, and encouragement of academic creativity, while recognizing both the evolving legal and social environment and the importance of the Web as a worldwide online representation the UMSL campus.
These inclusionary guidelines are intended to permit wide and varied use of the Web via UMSL servers, while ensuring the development of authoritative and dependable information resources which reflect the University's mission and follow responsible editorial guidelines.
Multiple editorial policies exist for different types of documents mounted on the Web via UMSL servers.
- The UMSL Home Page
The UMSL home page is the document with the most critical official role and thus the most critical editorial policy. The primary role of the home page with URL http://www.umsl.edu should be to serve as a gateway to connect a wide variety of users with UMSL established authoritative and dependable Internet resources. It is principally a finding tool. The Chancellor or her designee is responsible for policies governing the content and use of the campus's home page. The Web Coordinating Committee, appointed by the Chancellor, serves as an advisory body on these policies.
- Other documents in UMSL "space"
Direct or indirect links from URL http://www.umsl.edu carry explicit or implicit indications that the content will be related to the mission of UMSL. This content may vary, and the documents with these links may have a wide variety of purposes. For the most part, these purposes may be thought of as either promoting the University, defining the University, or facilitating the availability of University resources or of information about the University. Different materials may be subject to different requirements for style, consistency, and content, depending on their purpose and nature.
a. Minimal editorial and style consistency
All documents in UMSL web "space" should have a least minimal style consistency and should include at least the following information:
(1) name (or position) of the responsible individual or affiliated
campus unit, and e-mail address;
(2) date of creation or updates;
(3) date document expires;
(4) appropriate disclaimers and copyright exclusions, if any.
All linked documents must point to the official University logo file. Each reference to a linked document should be indicative of the content to be found in the target document.
Units may wish to develop additional guidelines beyond the minimum standards described above. These standards would be set by unit administrators, in consultation with appropriate faculty and/or staff.
b. "Official" documents
Editorial guidelines which apply to printed documents or publications also apply fully to electronic documents for these types of items:
- electronic versions of printed documents originating in any University unit;
- any documents which would be considered an official University or departmental publication regardless of whether it exists in print;
- University policy or procedures documents;
- a representation of a University or unit position; or
- any document that purports to represent a collective or institutional position.
In addition to the guidelines in (a.) above, for such documents the following requirements apply:
The document must follow guidelines in the University Identity Policy, approved by the Cabinet in September 1995. These guidelines ensure that all printed and electronically displayed materials are consistent in their identification of the University and present a consistent stylistic image.
Documents which would be considered either (a) University policy documents, (b) a representation of a University or unit position, or (c) any document that purports to represent a collective or institutional position should be reviewed by the appropriate dean or director or her/his designee.
Personal home pages already exist for many faculty and staff. They fall into two categories, official and "unofficial." Unofficial home pages are those which the author does not want to be subject to review for editorial consistency and which would not meet the criterion that a Web user would have a reasonable expectation of finding out about the University from these pages.
While the University currently supports unofficial pages, there is no guarantee that resources will allow it to continue to do so.
1. "Unofficial" pages must be clearly identified as such, both in the link to the page and on the page itself.
2. Unofficial pages cannot have any official or official-appearing University logo and should not appear to be representative of the University or one of its units or of a collective or official position.
3. While the University currently supports unofficial home pages, there is no guarantee that resources will allow it to continue to do so.
Applicable laws and guidelines
Regardless of source or type, ALL documents mounted on the Web via UM-St. Louis servers are automatically subject to applicable laws and University guidelines, rules, and regulations applicable to their creation, display, and use, including, but not limited to the Collected Rules and Regulations, Business Policy Manual, university codes of conduct for faculty, staff, and students, and the UMSL document Rights and Responsibilities of Computing Users.
It is prudent to remember that text, graphics, movies, and audio files on the Internet are covered by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code). Even if there is no explicit statement of copyright, U.S. Copyright Law states that original works may not be reproduced, distributed, or displayed without permission of the creator or copyright holder.
Revised April 8, 1996