MUniversity of Minnesota

September 11, 2003

Policy issues to decide

In the words of the main programmer of the project, Bill Tantzen, programming will be the easy part. Policy decisions will be the most challenging part of the project, and many policy decisions will dictate how the tool is built. What do I mean? Check out these decisions that must be made:


  • Terms of use and freedom of opinion. Big decisions that may involve University lawyers.

  • How many blogs can a person have? Movable Type allows for multiple blogs, owners, and authors. Do we limit community members to one blog, or allow individual authors as many as they want? How many authors can a single blog have? Can an author be outside the University community?

  • Ownership of blogs. Of course, individual authors will be the primary owners of their blogs and the content on the blogs. The Libraries are intrigued with the prosepct, however, of archiving these blogs in perpetuity. What if Pawlenty had a blog when he was a student, and his blog voiced drastically different viewpoints than he has now? Could he ask the Libraries to take down his blog, or erase problematic entries? Hopefully not. The libraries hope to provide researchers of the future a true snapshot of campus life for any given time period that blogs have been active.

  • Speaking of which, how do we archive blogs? Given that the University community is at least 60,000, there is a chance that there will be many, many blogs and it will take a lot to archive these things and make them available for research.

  • How long can a person have access to his or her blog? Only while he or she is affiliated with the university? Or will we allow someone to maintain a blog even after graduation? What about staff?

I could go on, and I'm sure I will. Gotta go for now...

Posted by snackeru at September 11, 2003 04:08 PM