This was one of those projects that I thought would take half a day and ended up taking a week. If I’m going to sink that much work into it, I might as well share what I’ve learned.
I started out looking for lists of higher ed blogs. I didn’t realize at the time that I’d be documenting the process so I didn’t save the lists I ended up using. Those playing along at home can Google it. Once I found my lists, I looked for blogs that lived on a .edu top level domain. Then I looked for any links that mentioned usage guidelines or policies, went to the home page and performed site searches, played around with the wording, and whatever else I could come up with to locate the sort of info I was hunting for. Sometimes the leads I found would be walled up inside an intranet, which is understandable if not a little disappointing. I ended up with around a dozen promising leads.
- From Zero to Blogging in Five Easy Steps on the Web Musings blog from agency.nd.edu
- Blogs @ Brandeis University
- Create A Blog at Stanford
- Requesting a Blog Account from Vanderbilt Medical Center
- Vanderbilt ITS Blog FAQ
- Blogs on Spark at Tufts (I love the whole idea of Spark by the way)
- General Recommendations for Social Media from Binghamton U
- Policies and Procedures for Smathers Libraries Blog at Uni of Florida
- Wordpress Help Blog at Oregon State U
- Berkely breaks out the P-word for Use of Social Media
- Yale University Web institutional server policies
From those links, I collected about 60 phrases from 7 different schools (in no particular order).
- University of Florida
I grouped those phrases under common themes and came up with these 9 common elements.
- The stuff you publish here is visible to the entire internet and could be cached by search engines or archiving services for a very long time.
- This server/service exists to support the mission of the institution, if your intended purpose is at odds with this then there are many freely available blogging services available to you elsewhere.
- Content, including comment moderation, is your responsibility (and liability), not the institution’s.
- Don’t do anything stupid or illegal.
- We can re-purpose your content (from RSS feeds to marketing campaigns).
- We can delete your stuff, up to and including your entire blog/account.
- We provide a certain level of technical service/support but there are limits. (Varies widely from one institution to the next)
- We can change our minds about any of this with or without notice.
- Explanation of process for obtaining an account.
Not every school covered all those points. Not surprisingly, Harvard Law has one of the most thorough documents and they’ve been nice enough to license their terms under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. If you need to put together some guidelines in a hurry I recommend starting there and adjusting the wording to meet the needs of your particular institution.