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Last Update: by the Board Secretary

Boulder Community Network Policy

Version: 2004-04-10 (Previous Versions 1999-08-03, 1998-01-05, 1995-08-03)

BCN Mission

The Boulder Community Network mission is to facilitate the broad use of information technology to benefit the community. With an emphasis on Internet technologies, BCN also is concerned with innovation for public sector applications.

BCN Management Structure and Policies

Policy is set by the Board of Directors.

Endorse American Library Association Statements

BCN endorses the following American Library Association statements on access to information and their logical extension to on-line information:

Non-commercial Focus

BCN concentrates its efforts on segments of the community and categories of information that have not yet been adequately served by the commercial sector, in much the same way that public libraries and public broadcasting stations operate.

Preference for Open Protocols

Where possible, BCN will use widespread open protocols and formats (such as TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML) in preference to proprietary or locally developed protocols and formats.

Distinction Between Provider and Access roles of BCN

For the policies which follow, a distinction needs to be made between two BCN roles: providing access to information and providing information itself. This is inherent in the "client/server" nature of the World Wide Web technology BCN uses.

BCN directly publishes information to the people of Boulder County and the Internet via a specific server machine known as "". This is the only information which BCN has any direct control over, and thus the only information which BCN can state any policy for. Information from the BCN server will be identifiable because the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) will begin with the sequence "".

BCN also provides access to most of the information on the World Wide Web via public kiosks and dial-up lines. The initial starting point presented by these access points is the BCN server, but users can access the rest of the WWW from this starting point. Any information identified by a URL which does not begin with "" is published by an organization other than BCN.

Server policies and access policies are treated separately below.

Server Policies

Purpose of the BCN Server

BCN seeks to provide a platform for non-profit and civic organizations to provide reasonable amounts of locally-oriented information to the widest possible on-line audience.

Information Providers Agree to Assume Editorial Rights and Responsibilities

In the case of both information published from the BCN server, and information accessible via BCN, but published from other non-BCN systems, ultimate editorial and publishing responsibilities lie with the specific groups and organizations providing the information (the Information Providers). Before they are granted the privilege of publishing information on BCN, Information Providers must sign the Information Provider Contract.

Providing Commercial Information

BCN provides access to both commercial and non-commercial information via its kiosks and dial-up lines. But BCN will, at least initially, concentrate its limited server resources on information of a clearly non-profit, community-oriented nature, although we may seek out information of particular interest from other sources. We will be evaluating this issue on an ongoing basis, and reserve the right to include for-profit groups and information as deemed appropriate in the future, but we expect that their needs will be best served by other servers.

BCN will provide hypertext references to commercial information from other servers, but will seek to do so via information aggregators, such as chambers of commerce, who agree to provide reasonably open and free access to a wide variety of organizations.

Publishing Privileges

The Board reserves the right to deny BCN publishing privileges to any group or organization that does not meet the BCN Information Provider Criteria (under development).

Appeal Procedure

Information providers who disagree with a BCN decision may appeal the decision by filling out a "Request for Reconsideration" form (in development) and submitting it to the BCN coordinator. The issue will be heard by the BCN Policy Advisory Board which will render a decision within 60 days. If the information provider is still unsatisfied, a final appeal may be made to the BCN Board, which will render a final decision within 60 days after the final appeal.

Use of BCN Name and Information

Various other organizations may be interested in serving BCN information via their own access points and servers. The following guidelines must be adhered to:

  1. Information which is produced by BCN will be subject to the following copyright notice.
    (c) Copyright 1994-2004 Boulder Community Network:

    Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this World Wide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved.

    The name of Boulder Community Network or the Boulder Community Network logo may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Boulder Community Network makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.

  2. Information provided by other Information Providers is subject to whatever copyrights and restrictions they may indicate.
  3. Because of the unbounded and interactive nature of BCN and the World Wide Web, other information access providers will not be allowed to publicize that they provide access to "BCN" unless they provide full live World Wide Web access to the full content of the BCN server and the other linked servers in Boulder County.

    In other circumstances, written permission may be granted to other information providers to use a label such as "Information Excerpted from BCN" in their promotional material. The excerpts provided must include the following "core" set of elements of BCN:

Access Policies

Preserve Privacy of Users

BCN will seek to protect the privacy of BCN users by not releasing possibly revealing information about usage patterns except when forced to do so by court order.

This part is not yet official. BCN will not use "cookie" technology or other similar methods to track users unless that is the best way to deliver some particular kind of interface, in which case the application will first get the user's approval. Long-term cookies will not be used at all.

Priorities of Access to Various Internet Services

The Internet can be used by the general public for a wide variety of purposes. This policy statement attempts to categorize the various services that can be provided and identify priorities from a community information provider standpoint so that limited dollars can be used most effectively.

For example, we don't want people to be unable to access basic local information because lots of other people are telecommuting or using "chat" services from public kiosks and dial-up lines.

Here are the relevant "Service Categories", in priority order:

Providing and supporting individual user accounts and passwords requires many more resources than providing free anonymous service.

BCN has finite resources. Some of the lowest priority, least "cost effective" (information per dollar) services are the most popular: chat, bulletin boards and email.

Providing these popular communications services is also most likely to duplicate services provided by the private sector.

Note also that within both the local and global WWW resource categories, some information (e.g. large downloadable movies) might be viewed as having lower priority than other information (e.g. bus schedules or proposed legislation). The emerging world of interactive collaboration protocols embedded in browsers is making it harder to provide one service category without also providing others. In cases where the additional protocols are provided as plug-ins, it is possible to use these criteria to decide whether to install the plug-ins on public kiosks.

Policy for Priority Heirarchy of Services

Given that framework, our goal is that

Patron access to services with higher priority should not be impeded by the provision and use of services with lower priority.

We will work with BCN-affiliated public access sites to achieve this goal via this implementation proposal:

Pick a set of "high priority" services to which we can provide unimpeded access via existing funding. Optionally pick an additional set of lower priority services for which we do not expect to be able to fund unimpeded access to everyone, and which we will provide via different terminals and/or dial-in lines or, if desired, via user fees.

Based on usage information, re-adjust priorities and the split between the services.

Last Update: by the Board Secretary
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