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Faculty and Staff

General World Wide Web Use Policy

Approved by the Faculty Senate on December 20, 2002.

Introduction

Goals and Missions of University Web and Web Advisory Committee

Procedures for Amending the Policy

Section One: Policies Relating to Web Page Content

  • 1.1: Rights and Responsibilities
  • 1.2: Use of Copyrighted or Licensed Material
  • 1.3: Commercial Use of Web Pages
  • 1.4: Content
  • 1.4.1: Reliability of Content
  • 1.4.2: Accessibility of Content
  • 1.5: Advertising
  • 1.6: Sponsorship Acknowledgement
  • 1.7: Links to External Sites
  • 1.8: Enforcement
  • 1.9: Appellate Process

Section Two: Policies Relating to Official Web Pages

  • 2.1: Official Web Pages
  • 2.2: Responsibility
  • 2.3: Compliance with Policies
  • 2.4: Copyright statement
  • 2.5: Location
  • 2.6: Design

Section Three: Policies Relating to Research, Instruction and Student Organization Web Pages

  • 3.1: Research, instruction and student organization Web pages
  • 3.2: Responsibility
  • 3.3: Compliance with Policies
  • 3.4: Use of Copyrighted Material
  • 3.4.1: Copyright for Material Developed at the University of Rhode Island
  • 3.4.2: Use of Material Copyrighted by Others
  • 3.4.3: "Fair Use" of Copyrighted Material
  • 3.5: Location
  • 3.6: Design

Section Four: Policies Relating to Personal Web Pages

  • 4.1: Personal Web Pages
  • 4.2: Responsibilities
  • 4.3: Compliance with Policies
  • 4.4: Location
  • 4.5: Design
  • 4.6: Departure from the University

Introduction

This document is intended to inform readers of the policies for creating and maintaining World Wide Web pages at the University of Rhode Island. Some of the policies in this document are more important than others (e.g., because of potential legal implications for the University.) These policies that absolutely must be followed use the language "must" or "must not." The University recognizes three categories of Web pages, each with its own set of policies:

  1. Official Web pages provide information relating to an office, department, or other official unit of the University and/or its services or functions.
  2. Research, instruction and student organization Web pages, although not technically "official Web pages" of the University, should be consistent with the academic mission or the mission of student government and student life of the University.
  3. Personal Web pages are Web pages developed by students, faculty, and staff that contain non-official information about the authors, including their backgrounds, interests, and/or opinions.

Each category of Web pages has its own set of policies, and readers need to read only the section of this document dealing with Web Page Content plus the section(s) that relate to the types of Web pages for which they have responsibility.

Resources to help departments develop Web pages that follow University design guidelines are available at ITS Web Services

Goals and Missions of University Web and Web Advisory Committee

Mission:The mission of the University of Rhode Island's World Wide Web sites is to support the University's broader mission through the use of Web technology and to enhance the University's value to its many audiences both within and outside the University community.

Goals: Goals for the University's Web sites include the following:

  • to provide information resources to the University community
  • to enable audiences to navigate the University Web site easily and effectively
  • to enhance the University's presence on the Web and to broaden recognition for the University
  • to develop informative and engaging material that is presented in an attractive, consistent, and professional manner
  • to reflect the University's goals and objectives
  • to provide an information and communications infrastructure to support the University
  • to provide resources that help streamline and automate the development and maintenance of Web pages

Role of Web Advisory Committee: is to guide the development of University Web services and to advise and support the University Webmaster.

Composition of Web Advisory Committee: The committee is chaired by the University Webmaster and reports to the Vice-Provost for Information Services.

There are two types of members of the Web Advisory Committee: Standing Members (appointed permanently by virtue of their office) and At Large Members (appointed on a rotating basis). Standing members include the following or their designees:

  • Director of Communications
  • Director of Enrollment Services
  • Director of Information and Instructional Technology Services
  • Director of Publications
  • Director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research
  • Director of University Libraries
  • Faculty Senate Rep
  • Graduate Student Association Rep.
  • Student Affairs Rep
  • Student Senate Rep
  • University Webmaster
  • Vice Provost for Information Services

At Large members are appointed by the Web Advisory Committee from various academic and administrative offices and student organizations on campus for rotating two-year terms.

Committee membership will be reviewed annually to reflect the changing conditions of the university community.

Learn more about the Web Advisory Committee.

Role of University Webmaster: is to develop and maintain central Web pages, provide and monitor Web policies and guidelines, provide education, technical support and online documentation to Web developers, assist communications between Web developers, provide Web resources and tools, and develop some sites and services as necessary.

Procedures for Amending the Policy

Modifications to this policy shall be submitted to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. If the Faculty Senate Executive Committee determines that a particular matter does not fall under Faculty Senate jurisdiction the Vice Provost for Information Services shall be informed of this determination, and the changes shall become effective upon approval by the President. If the Faculty Senate Executive Committee determines that the changes do require Faculty Senate approval, the matter shall be presented to the Faculty Senate for action.

Section One: Policies Relating to Web Page Content

1.1: Rights and Responsibilities: The University of Rhode Island is committed to intellectual and academic freedom and to protecting the rights of students, faculty, and staff to exercise freedom of expression and free academic inquiry and discovery. Users must in turn respect the rights of other users, respect the integrity of the systems and related physical resources, and comply with all federal, Rhode Island and other applicable laws, regulations, and University policies.

1.2: Use of Copyrighted or Licensed Material: Written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder and kept on file, whenever necessary, for the use of any and all copyrighted materials not belonging to the University of Rhode Island or to a faculty member utilizing his/her own material. Copyright permission may be necessary not only for text but in some instances also for photographs, graphics, audio, video, compiled statistics, graphs, as well as for mirrored web sites. However, copyrighted materials that are in the public domain or that may be used within "fair use" guidelines may be displayed as permitted. Appropriate copyright notices must be prominently displayed as necessary and access to such materials must be limited as required by the conditions of the license for use obtained from the copyright owner. See Section 3.4.1-Section 3.4.3 of this document and also Section 10.42.10 to 10.42.18 of the University Manual for further information relating to copyright. Individuals with questions about the use of copyrighted material for official or research/instruction Web pages should contact the University's General Counsel's Office. Individuals and units creating Web pages must secure rights to all material copyrighted by others, including but not limited to text, images and sounds, before using such material in their Web pages. This requirement does not apply to copyrighted material for which the University has obtained permission for use on the Web. A collection of such material is available at the URI ImageBank.

Photographs and images must not be scanned from University of Rhode Island publications (or any other published material) for use on the Web without determining that the University owns or has licensed that photograph or image. The University does not own the rights to all of the photographs or illustrations in its publications. In particular, the University may have licensed a photograph only for use in a single publication or only for use within the United States. Because photography contracts are complex and vary from one publication to another, University ownership must not be assumed. For more information contact the Publication Office at 874-2075.

1.3: Commercial Use of Web Pages: All Web pages which reside on University-owned computers or which depend upon University-owned communications for access must not be for business purposes or for financial gain unrelated to academic, research and professional activities traditionally associated with a university unless otherwise approved or permitted by the President or his/her designee.

1.4: Content: Certain laws and University policy prohibit the publication of certain categories of material. All Web pages which reside on University-owned computers or which depend upon University-owned communications for access must comply with applicable laws and with University policies and regulations. The following must not be included in official, research, instruction and student organizations, or personal Web pages:

  • copyrighted or licensed materials for which the necessary permissions for use have not been obtained (see 1.2)
  • material for commercial gain unrelated to the University (see 1.3)
  • material or speech that is unlawful or illegal unless with disclaimer for illustrative academic purposes only
  • material that is intended to damage, to interfere with, or place an excessive load on a computer system or network

1.4.1: Reliability of Content: The University provides easy access to information and instructional resources on the World Wide Web to its many audiences both within and outside the University community. The Undergraduate-Graduate Catalog serves as official source of information for academic programs and requirements. Users should be aware that for various reasons, substantial delays may occur before particular information on the University Web sites is updated. Information found on the University Web sites is subject to change without notice. More current information may be available. The University reserves the right to revise the contents of, amend links from or withdraw access to the Web sites at any time without notice.

Contents on the University of Rhode Island World Wide Web sites are provided on an "as is" basis. The University does not give or make any representation or warranty (either express or implied) as to the completeness, accuracy or reliability of the content of the Web sites nor does the University accept any responsibility arising in any way (including from negligence) for errors in, or omissions from, the content of the Web sites. Users are advised to consult the appropriate Undergraduate-Graduate Catalog for official information on academic programs and requirements.

The University is not responsible for the content or reliability of linked Web sites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed therein. Listing/linking should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. The University cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and has no control over the availability of the listed/linked sites.

1.4.2: Accessibility of Content: All units should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and use features that make Web pages accessible to disabled users. Resources to help units make accessible Web pages are available at ITS Web Services.

1.5: Advertising: The sale of advertising on any Web pages which reside on University-owned computers or which depend upon University-owned communications for access is prohibited unless such advertising is pursuant to an appropriately approved contractual agreement between the University and the advertiser and is approved by the President or his/her designee who will set policy for number of ads permitted, as well as content and placement of ads on the Web page. This policy does not apply to advertising of University products and programs to audiences internal to the University.

A Web advertisement cons sits of:

  1. text or graphic placed on a Web page that has been paid for by a non-University organization; or,
  2. text or graphic placed on a Web page in exchange for goods or services,

The following examples do not constitute and advertisement:

  1. General interest links to commercial Web sites that may be of interest to Web viewers and that are available free of charge (e.g., links to Alta Vista search service, links to britannica.com, area weather links);
  2. Links to subscription services or site licenses for which the university pays, in order to gain access to a commercial service (e.g., Netscape Navigator, FirstSearch);
  3. Information that relates to or supports the teaching, research, or service mission of the University, such as academic departmental conferences; or,
  4. Listings of sponsors for University-related activities or programs.

When and if the University wishes to participate in advertising and commercial opportunities on the World Wide Web, such activities should be conducted under the ".com" domain and contract such activity to the private sector.

1.6: Sponsorship Acknowledgement: An organization that has sponsored an activity at the University may be acknowledged on the relevant Web pages. However, Images and text used for sponsorship must not in any way imply that the University is endorsing a product or company.

Identification of sponsors shall be limited to:

  • Name of the sponsor.
  • Purpose to which the sponsorship was directed.
  • The sponsor's location - physically and on the World Wide Web.
  • Non-comparative descriptions of the product or service line.
  • The sponsor's institutional goals or a public service message.
  • The sponsor's brand or trade names, including depictions of the same.
  • The sponsor's bona fide text or visual logo.
  • The length of time the sponsor has been in business or the date its business commenced.
  • The sponsor's telephone number.
  • A link to the sponsor's external World Wide Web pages subjected to the guidelines detailed in Section 1.7.

1.7: Links to External Sites: Links from University World Wide Web pages to other internet sites are permitted, but must be related to the University's core missions of teaching, research and service, and must not imply University endorsement of the external site products or services.

Disclaimers should be included on Web pages if linking to a commercial site could imply endorsement. An appropriate disclaimer is: "Links on these pages to external sites do not represent endorsement by the University of Rhode Island."

Links should open a new, smaller browser window whenever possible.

1.8: Enforcement: The University reserves the right, using its sole discretion, to remove from its servers or disconnect from its network any material or Web pages that the University is either made aware of or becomes aware of being in violation of University policies or of applicable laws. Questions about whether material on a Web page violates applicable policies or laws will be referred to the Web Advisory Committee or the University's General Counsel. The University Webmaster is responsible for protecting both the system and users from abuses of these policies and laws. Pursuant to this duty, the Webmaster may informally and/or formally communicate with offending parties and give instructions as to the steps needed to be taken to correct such violations. In certain cases the University may temporarily or permanently deactivate a Web page.

1.9: Appellant Process: Any student, staff, or faculty member who feels that he or she has been wrongly accused of violating these policies may appeal the decision by filing an appeal with the Web Advisory Committee. Written requests to appear before the Web Advisory Committee must contain the following information and be sent to the Vice Provost for Information Services. A hearing will be scheduled with the Web Advisory Committee within three months after the written requests and the accused party may present his or her argument. The Web Advisory Committee will make a written recommendation to the vice provost, who will then render a final decision within a month after the hearing.

  • Name
  • Title
  • Department
  • Telephone number, email address
  • URL of offending web page(s)
  • Reason for appeal
  • Signature

Please send appeal(s) to the Vice Provost for Information Services as listed below:

Vice Provost for Information Services
Re: WWW General Use Policy Appeal
University Library
15 Lippitt Road
Kingston, RI 02881

Section Two: Policies Relating to Official Web Pages

2.1 Official Web pages: provide information relating to an office, department, or other official unit of the University and/or its services or functions. The content of official University of Rhode Island Web pages and pages linked to them should be consistent with the nature and purpose of the department, office, or program maintaining the page(s), and with the priorities, mission and goals of the University.

2.2: Responsibility: Administrative and academic units are responsible for developing their own Web pages using graphics, photos, design guidelines, template, and other resources that are available on the University Web site (Review the ITS Web Services help documents). After the page is completed, each unit is advised to submit new or significantly reconstructed Web sites to the Web Advisory Committee for review and suggestion on how to best link to the page from the University home page and/or other top-level University Web pages. Request for Web Site Review/Link.

Each unit must appoint a designated individual(s) responsible for ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of its content and adherence to University policies and applicable laws. Each unit is advised to review the department Web contact list at least annually and submit new or updated contact information to the University Webmaster.

Each unit should decide whether or not to link to any given research, instruction and student organization pages or personal Web pages from its official Web pages. In addition each unit should determine whether or not to allow hosting of any personal Web pages of students, faculty, and staff, and, if allowed, the responsible unit designee(s) must ensure that a University of Rhode Island Personal Web Page Agreement is on file for each NEW personal page hosted on the Web server, effective July 1, 2003.

2.3: Compliance with Policies: All official Web pages must comply with "Policies Relating to Official Web Pages" (Section 2), "Policies Relating to Web Page Content" (Section 1), University policies relating to copyright found in Section 10.42.10 to 10.42.18 of the University Manual, and University Computing and Network Use Policies.

2.4: Copyright Statement: The contents of all official Web pages are copyrighted by and are the property of the University of Rhode Island. Each official home page must contain the following disclaimer: Copyright © xxxx (year), University of Rhode Island. Disclaimer where the Disclaimer text must serve as a link to copyright and disclaimer information. For most official pages (see below for exceptions), the copyright statement would link to the following information:

Copyright xxxx (year), University of Rhode Island. All Rights Reserved. No material from this Web site may be copied, reproduced, re-published, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed in any way except that you may download one copy of the materials on any single computer for non-commercial, personal, or educational purposes only, provided that you (1) do not modify such information and (2) include both this notice and any copyright notice originally included with such information. If material is used for other purposes, you must obtain permission from the University of Rhode Island to use the copyrighted material prior to its use.

Contents contained on this University Web site are provided on an "as is" basis. The University does not give or make any representation or warranty (either express or implied) as to the completeness, accuracy or reliability of the content of the Web site nor does the University accept any responsibility arising in any way (including from negligence) for errors in, or omissions from, the content of this Web site. Users are advised to consult the appropriate Undergraduate-Graduate Catalog for official information on academic programs and requirements.

The University is not responsible for the content or reliability of linked Web sites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed therein. Listing/linking should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. The University cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and have no control over the availability of the listed/linked sites.

You may link this disclaimer on the Web at http://www.uri.edu/home/about/disclaimer.html.

In certain instances a unit may choose to allow the contents of a specific official Web page to be downloaded for uses other than for personal, non-commercial purposes. In such a case, a copyright notice should be placed on that Web page only that allows the downloading of such content by the user. The contents of a Web page to be downloaded should be limited to content developed by the University of Rhode Island and of which the University is the copyright owner. In such cases the copyright statement would link to the following disclaimer:

Copyright © xxxx (year), University of Rhode Island. All Rights Reserved. Material from only this Web page may be downloaded for uses other than non-commercial, personal, or educational purposes provided that you (1) do not modify such information and (2) include both this notice and any copyright notice originally included with such information.

Contents contained on this University Web site are provided on an "as is" basis. The University does not give or make any representation or warranty (either express or implied) as to the completeness, accuracy or reliability of the content of the Web site nor does the University accept any responsibility arising in any way (including from negligence) for errors in, or omissions from, the content of this Web site. Users are advised to consult the appropriate Undergraduate-Graduate Catalog for official information on academic programs and requirements.

The University is not responsible for the content or reliability of linked Web sites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed therein. Listing/linking should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. The University cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and have no control over the availability of the listed/linked sites.

You may link this disclaimer on the Web at http://www.uri.edu/home/about/disclaimer.html.

2.5: Location: All official Web pages for the University must reside on University-owned computers within the uri.edu domain, either administered centrally by the Office of Information Services or by a unit. Units who wish to host their official Web pages using external hosting services and/or register a domain name outside the uri.edu domain must submit a written request to the Web Advisory Committee following procedures specified in Section 1.9.

2.6: Design: In order to maintain a consistent "look and feel"" for all University Web sites, official Web pages are advised to follow the Design Guidelines.

Units are strongly encouraged to adopt the official Web department template for the University or to incorporate elements from the official template. In particular, creators of official Web pages must include the following on their top-level Web pages:

  • University Logo,
  • Link to the University home page (www.uri.edu),
  • Contact information (mailing address and phone number and e-mail addresses for contacts),
  • Date stamp of when your page was created or modified, and
  • Link to copyright statement (see Section 2.4).

The official Web department template for the University is available at the Web Templates home. Resources to help departments develop Web pages that follow design guidelines are available at ITS Web Services

Section Three: Policies Relating to Research, Instruction and Student Organization Web pages

3.1: Research, instruction and student organization Web pages, although not technically "official Web pages" of the University, must be consistent with the academic mission or the mission of the student government and student life of the University.

3.2: Responsibility: The principal investigator, instructor or student organization developing the Web page, rather than the department, has responsibility for contents, links, images, and adherence to policies.

3.3: Compliance with Policies: All research, instruction and student organization Web pages must comply with the "Policies Relating to Research, Instruction and Student Organization Web Pages" (Section 3), "Policies Relating to Web Page Content" (Section 1), University policies relating to copyright found in Section 10.42.10 to 10.42.18 of the University Manual, and University Computing and Network Use Policies. In addition, student organization Web pages must also follow University policies relating to computer use found in the Student Handbook ("Respect for University Process and Functions" sections 4.12 - 4.18), which deal with computing facilities, computer access, computer etiquette and unauthorized access of computer systems and networks, and any other relevant department, school, or college policies.

3.4: Use of Copyrighted Material: The University of Rhode Island intends to comply with the Copyright Law of the United States of America and related laws contained in Title 17 of the United States Code.

3.4.1: Copyright for Material Developed at the University of Rhode Island: Web pages that relate to research and instruction at the University of Rhode Island should contain an appropriate copyright notice if necessary. Ownership of copyright for Web pages dealing with research depends on the conditions of the research grant. Authors of research and instruction Web pages are advised to include a date stamp of when the Web page was created or modified, an email link to the authors, and the following disclaimer (or similar language) on all syllabi and course materials: Copyright xxxx (year), Dr. John Doe. Disclaimer where the disclaimer text serves as a link to the following information:

Contents contained on this University Web site are provided on an "as is" basis. The University does not give or make any representation or warranty (either express or implied) as to the completeness, accuracy or reliability of the contents of the Web site nor does the University accept any responsibility arising in any way (including from negligence) for errors in, or omissions from, the contents of this Web site. Users are advised to consult the appropriate Undergraduate-Graduate Catalog (http://www.uri.edu/catalog) for official information on academic programs and requirements.

The University is not responsible for the contents or reliability of the linked Web sites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed therein. Listing should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. The University cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and have no control over the availability of the linked sites.

You may link to this disclaimer on the Web at http://www.uri.edu/home/about/disclaimer-3.html

3.4.2: Use of Material Copyrighted by Others: Individuals and departments creating Web pages that relate to any and all copyrighted materials not belonging to the University of Rhode Island must secure written permission from the copyright holder and keep it on file, whenever necessary. Copyright permission may be necessary not only for text but in some instances also for photographs, graphics, audio, video, compiled statistics, graphs, as well as for mirrored web sites. However, materials that are in the public domain or copyrighted materials that may be used within "fair use" guidelines (see Section 3.4.3) may be displayed as permitted. Appropriate copyright notices must be prominently displayed as necessary and access to such materials must be limited as required by the conditions of the license for use obtained from the copyright owner. Individuals with questions about the use of copyrighted material for official or research/instruction Web pages should contact the University General Counsel's Office.

3.4.3: "Fair Use" of Copyrighted Material: Fair use refers to an individual's right to use copyrighted material in a reasonable manner without the consent of copyright owner. The "fair use" statute (17 USC §107) prescribes that a use is generally considered to be a "fair use" when used in teaching, scholarship, or research

  1. if such use is not commercial in nature or is for a non-profit educational purpose,
  2. if the nature of the copyrighted work is factual rather than creative,
  3. if such use does not affect the potential market for the copyrighted work, and
  4. if the portion used in relation to the whole of the copyrighted work is not significant.

Individuals with questions about "fair use" should contact the University General Counsel's Office or visit the U. S. Copyright Law Web site.

3.5: Location: Web pages relating to research and instruction and Web pages for student organizations may reside on any computer regardless of the machine's affiliation with the University.

3.6: Design: Although Web pages related to research and instruction and Web pages for student organizations may follow official Web design guidelines and template or incorporate aspects of the official design and template, they are not required to do so.

Section Four Policies Relating to Personal Web Pages

4.1: Personal Web Pages: Personal Web pages are Web pages developed by students, faculty, and staff and contain non-official information about the authors, including their backgrounds, interests, and/or opinions.

4.2: Responsibilities: A personal Web page is the responsibility of its author rather than of the University. It can be hosted on any computer regardless of the machine's affiliation with the University. Every personal Web page stored on a University-owned computer or computer that depends upon University-owned communications for access must include the following disclaimer on its top-level Web pages:

This personal Web page is not an official University of Rhode Island Web page. See disclaimer.

where "See disclaimer" is a link to the following statement: The University of Rhode Island provides personal Web pages for faculty, staff, and students as a forum for self expression. The University does not review personal Web pages and accepts no responsibility for the contents of these pages. The views and opinions expressed on both the Web pages themselves and/or of material accessed via links to other pages are those of the page authors only and are not in any way an official publication of the University.

You may link to this disclaimer on the Web at http://www.uri.edu/home/about/disclaimer-4.html.

Unit designee(s) responsible for hosting personal Web pages which reside on University-owned computers or computers that depend upon University-owned communications for access must ensure that a University of Rhode Island Personal Web Page Agreement is on file for each NEW personal Web page hosted on the Web server, effective July 1, 2003. The Agreement must be retained at all times when personal Web pages are hosted.

4.3 Compliance with Policies: All personal Web pages must comply with "Policies Relating to Personal Web Pages" (Section 4), "Policies Relating to Web Page Content" (Section 1), University policies relating to copyright found in Section 10.42.10 to 10.42.18 of the University Manual, and University Computing and Network Use Policies, and University policies relating to computer use found in the Student Handbook ("Respect for University Process and Functions" sections 4.12 - 4.18), which deal with computing facilities, computer access, computer etiquette and unauthorized access of computer systems and networks, and any other relevant department, school, or college policies.

4.4: Location: Personal web pages may be stored on any computer regardless of the machine's affiliation with the University.

4.5: Design: There are no design guidelines for personal Web pages, but personal Web pages must not be designed to intentionally confuse users with official Web pages. Furthermore, authors of personal Web pages are advised not to include the University wordmark, the Green Hall logo, the University seal, the Ram logo and other University visual identities on their personal Web pages. Users are advised to consult the Visual Standards Guide for official information regarding the use of University's visual identity elements.

Credits: We are grateful to University of Miami for its assistance in developing the Web policy.

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