Policy and Procedures for use of Electronic Information
ELECTRONIC NETWORKS AND THE LIBRARY’S MISSION
Libraries make it possible for citizens to have access to the information they need to make informed decisions. As a member of the Illinois Library and Information Network (ILLINET), the Governors State University Library is committed to networking which represents good public policy by maximizing the use of the resources of all types of libraries. Expanded access to information beyond the four walls of a single library building benefits every library user.
The Governors State University Library and all ILLINET libraries use electronic information networks such as the Internet for a variety of purposes:
Access to shared automation systems that provide bibliographic access to the collections of the local library and libraries in the region and across the state.
Access to the wealth of information resources available via the Internet.
Access to general and specialized shared licensed databases available to ILLINET member libraries through regional and statewide cooperative programs
RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LIBRARY POLICIES
The Governors State University Library’s Policy for Access to Electronic Networks is part of the library’s overall policy structure and should be interpreted in conjunction with other existing policies.
“GLOBAL” VERSUS “LOCAL” RESOURCES
Most resources available via the Internet and other electronic information networks are “global” resources rather than “local” resources. The Governors State University Library does not and cannot control the information content available through global resources such as information obtained from outside sources via the Internet. Internet resources enhance and supplement resources that are available locally within the library. Library users must be aware that the Governors State University Library does not exercise control over information obtained via the Internet and must keep in mind the following points when evaluating information obtained via the Internet:
Information obtained via the Internet may or may not be reliable and may or may not be obtained from reliable sources.
Information obtained via the Internet may or may not be accurate.
Information obtained via the Internet may or may not be current or up to date.
Links to information on the Internet may not always be valid. Particular information sites on the Internet may sometimes be unavailable and this unavailability often occurs unpredictably.
Some library patrons may consider certain information obtained via the Internet to be controversial.
The Governors State University Library urges library patrons to be informed consumers and carefully evaluate information obtained via the Internet. Library staff may be available to assist patrons in making judgments about reliability or currency of certain types of Internet information sources, but are unable to provide definitive analysis of particular sources due to the extremely large variety and volume of information available via the Internet.
The Governors State University Library is not responsible for damages, indirect or direct, arising from a patron’s use of Internet information resources.
LIBRARY PATRONS’ RIGHTS
Library patrons have certain rights with respect to use of electronic information networks such as the Internet. The Governors State University Library will work with other libraries in the Illinois Library and Information Network (ILLINET) to preserve and protect these rights, subject to limitations imposed by licensing and payment agreements with database providers.
Library patrons have the right to confidentiality and privacy in the use of electronic information networks to the extent possible given certain constraints such as proximity of other patrons and staff in public access settings.
Library patrons have the right to equitable access to electronic information networks.
Library patrons have the right to access and read all library service policies and discuss questions with appropriate library staff.
PATRON ASSISTANCE AND INSTRUCTION
The Governors State University Library staff may provide assistance to patrons in the use of electronic information networks as time and staff knowledge permits. Some printed and online documentation and instructions are available at or near points of service. Instruction in particular aspects of electronic information network use is available upon request.
USE OF EQUIPMENT AND NETWORKS
The Governors State University Library requires that library patrons using electronic information networks such as the Internet do so within the guidelines of acceptable use. The following activities are unacceptable:
Use of electronic information networks for any purpose which results in the harassment of others.
Destruction of, damage to, or unauthorized alteration of the library’s computer equipment, software or network security procedures.
Use of electronic information networks which result in commercial gain or private profit (other than that allowable under university intellectual property policies).
Use of electronic information networks that violates a Federal or State law in any way, including copyright.
Use of electronic information networks in any way that violates licensing and payment agreements between the Governors State University Library and network/database providers.
Unauthorized duplication of copy-protected software or violation of software license agreements.
Violation of computer system security.
Behaving in a manner that is disruptive to other users, including, but not limited to, overuse of computer equipment which serves to deny access to other users.
CHILDREN’S ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC INFORMATION NETWORKS
The Governors State University Library supports the right of all library users to access information and will not deny access to electronic information networks based solely on age. Any member of the general public can use government information resources in any format without impediments. Researchers of any age may access Federal depository resources.
The Governors State University Library recognizes that the electronic information networks such as the Internet may contain material that is inappropriate for children. Parents are expected to monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet in this library. Library staff members are unable to monitor children’s use. Parents are encouraged to discuss with their children issues of appropriate use and electronic information network safety.
LIBRARY PROCEDURES RELATING TO ELECTRONIC NETWORKS
Governors State University Library has developed certain procedures to assist staff and patrons in the use of electronic information resources. These procedures include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:
Researchers have priority access at all times.
Researchers of any age may access Federal depository resources.
GSU electronic information networks are solely for educational and research purposes, and not for recreational use.
Downloading and installing of software is prohibited.
Downloading of data, i.e. search results, to a formatted high-density disk is encouraged.
Cash or a print card is required to pay for printing using the library’s computer equipment.
No food or drink is permitted at computer workstations in the library.
BREACH OF POLICY
Violation of any aspect of this policy or these procedures may result in the loss of library privileges.
NOTE: This is a variation of a policy adopted by the Illinois State Library Advisory Committee on May 23, 1996.