There are many companies on the Internet offering attractive and useful applications services based on the Web 2.0 paradigm. These are increasingly being adopted within the University, for administrative, teaching, learning and research purposes.
The document below offers guidance to staff within the University on some of the issues which need to be considered before using such non-University services for University purposes. The document is intended to be helpful for all staff, including researchers, teaching staff and support staff.
The University's use of Web 2.0 services is developing quickly, and the services themselves are changing and expanding even more rapidly. It is inevitable that the information in the document will be far from a complete or comprehensive guide to the issues. You should therefore seek other relevant advice and use your own common sense as well as relying on this document, which is a DRAFT.
Note that JISC Legal has released a new version of its Code of Practice for the Further and Higher Education Sectors on the Data Protection Act 1998, which contains a section on Web 2.0 Services. That section draws heavily on the above guidelines.
Note also that the Information Commissioner's Office has released a document on how to collect and use online personal data, which is relevant to some of the issues discussed in the aboveguidelines.
Using this document in your own institution
We've received a number of requests from other educational institutions which wish to incorporate in their own guidelines aspects of, or edited text from, the above document. Therefore, the guidelines are hereby made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. The "Original Author" of the document is The University of Edinburgh, and section 4(b) of the License requires you to acknowledge the University in any "adaptation" you create.
Please note the disclaimers in clauses 5 and 6 of the License, and non-UK institutions should particularly note that their legal constraints will be different.
Comments on the guidelines are welcome - please use the "Add Comment" link below, or provide comments using a.notate.com. (Thanks to Fred Howell from Textensor for pointing this out and uploading the document.)
If you think it would be helpful for the document to be "unpicked" and included in this Wiki in a more integrated fashion, please argue for this in the comments.