Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2010


Academic librarians have been using social software and networking sites for public services since they appeared on the Internet. While issues of privacy, identity management, and self-disclosure when using such technologies have been written about, very little critical attention has been paid to establishing policies or guidelines related to their use. This article is based on the authors’ experience creating a social software policy and internal service guidelines at Georgia State University and on the results of an informal survey study that gauged academic librarians’ need for and awareness of such documents. It provides both reasoning and assistance for developing social software guidelines that will protect service providers from violating the First Amendment and guide patron comment postings. Although the study was aimed at academic librarians, the findings and suggestions are relevant to any institution that offers services via social software.


This article was originally published in Reference & User Services Quarterly.

© 2010 American Library Association. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for nonprofit, educational use.