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I'm combining Guidelines in progress with this policies document so we can link to the publicly available Blog Contributor Guidelines Document without confusion.

Policies and Workflow

Role of Working Group

The Blog Working Group will recommend and set policy and procedures regarding the content, use, and installation of the blog. Members of the Blog Working Group will act as guides for new blog contributors, and will recruit blog contributors to replace members of the Working Group if needed. The Working Group will collectively plan for changes to the blog when necessary, and will set handling and routing procedures for specific issues. Any security-related issue will be reported immediately to Library Systems.

Hosting and Upgrades

The Blog is hosted locally and run on Wordpress. Installation maintenance, upgrades, theming, and modification will be executed by Sean Hannon in consultation with the rest of the Blog Working Group. Plug-ins and widgets, if desired, will be prioritized by the Blog Working Group.

Current Environment

  • Production blog at: Insert server location & any necessary documentation here. (SH?)
  • Development blog at: Insert server location & any necessary documentation here. (SH?)
  • Currently Wordpress 2.2 (the original Wordpress, not the multi-user version) is installed on both the development and production instances.
  • The current theme is the Pool theme, which is not widget-ready. Branding includes rotating headers that include photographs of library scenes combined with the Sheridan Libraries Logo.
  • A Feedburner feed has been created ( We do not yet had the server-side plug-in installed that would catch our current subscribers and redirect them through this counted feed. One FAQ, Feedburner Quickstart for Wordpress


Please be advised that all comments and suggestions can be anonymous and are moderated for clarity, brevity, and appropriateness. We do reserve the right to post as is, decline to post, or edit. We will not post comments that contain obscenities or otherwise lack civility and respect for any persons, groups, or this university.
(From Blog)
M-Team would like a customized version of this in the footer: "The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s). The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University."


Editing (see Disclaimer): Our Disclaimer notes that we reserve the right to edit comments and may decline to post comments that are inappropriate. Currently, comments may be posted anonymously. However, patrons who do supply an e-mail address may then have the comment sent to them as an e-mail as well, alerting them that their comment has had a reply.

Technical issues: Currently, comments cannot be nested, that is a comment may not reply to another comment. We hope to address this. Comments may be received two ways: sent as e-mail into the Blogs folder within the Ask Lib account (rule set up to send the e-mail there) and noted as "Comment in moderation" when the poster logs into the blog. Otherwise, there is no direct notification to the poster that they've received a comment, and this is an issue. It would help if an e-mail alert directly to the poster could be sent. Is this possible?

Blog Post and Contributor Procedure

Meredith Shelby is the point person for creating new contributor accounts and training new contributors. New users email Meredith when they finish a post, attaching any pictures that should accompany the post. Meredith uploads and formats picture to the post and alerts post reviewers (Margaret Burri, Robin Sinn) that there is an entry ready for approval. Post reviewers makes edits or confers with the group. Once any necessary changes have been made, the reviewer will publish the post. Need process/criteria: Contributors may be bumped up to a higher level over time













Edit Own Posts






Publish Posts






Upload Files






Edit Pages






Edit Others' Posts






Edit Published Posts






Unfiltered HTML






Manage Links






Manage Categories






Moderate Comments












Manage Options






Edit Files






Edit Users






Edit Plugins






Activate Plugins






Edit Themes






Switch Themes






Editorial: Margaret Burri, Robin Sinn


  1. Staff who would like to post in the blog email Meredith Shelby (
  2. Mark Cyzyk creates a username and password at the Contributor level for the staff member and emails it to them; staff is encouraged to then change their password
  3. If needed, Meredith will help new users with their first posts
  4. Users email Meredith when they finish a post, attaching any pictures that should accompany the post
  5. Meredith uploads and formats picture to the post and alerts post reviewers (Margaret Burri, Robin Sinn) that there is an entry ready for approval
  6. Post reviewer makes edits on her own or confers with the group
  7. Once any necessary changes have been made, the reviewer will publish the post
  8. Contributors may be bumped up to a higher level over time

Copyright / IP

Contributors shall not upload, post, or otherwise make available on the blog any content protected by copyright, trademark, or other proprietary right without abiding by the doctrine of fair use, or without the express permission of the owner of the copyright, trademark or other proprietary right.

Question: Do we want to say something about the bloggers' rights to their own IP? If so, may I suggest a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License? A la LITA, St. Petersburg, etc. ...

By contributing to the blog, you also acknowledge that your individual entries to the blog are licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Sheridan Libraries Blog is using a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License for blog contributors. _Or ... we may want to consider using a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. There's only one major difference between the two: with the Share Alike license, you allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Key terms and conditions of your Creative Commons license

  • You, the blogger, retain your copyright for your own posts.

Licensees (people who use your content in whole or in part) must?

  • Request your permission for commercial use of your posts
  • Request your permission to create derivative works, unless their content is also licensed under the same terms as your content
  • Keep any copyright notice intact on all copies of your work
  • Link to the Creative Commons license from copies of the work

Licensees may not?

  • Alter the terms of your Creative Commons license
  • Use technology to restrict other licensees' lawful uses of the work

Your Creative Commons license allows licensees, provided they live up to these conditions, to take the following actions:

  • Copy the work
  • Distribute it
  • Display or perform it publicly
  • Make digital public performances of it (e.g., webcasting)
  • Shift the work into another format as a verbatim copy

Your Creative Commons license:

  • Applies worldwide
  • Lasts for the duration of the work?s copyright
  • Is not revocable

A General Explanation of Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an alternative to a traditional copyright licenses. Most original works by default are protected by copyright, which confers specific rights regarding use and distribution to the copyright holder. Creative Commons allows copyright owners to release some of those rights while retaining others, with the goal of increasing access to and sharing of intellectual property.

Creative Commons licenses give the copyright owner the ability to dictate how others may exercise his/her copyright rights -? such as the right of others to copy works, make derivative works or adaptations of works, to distribute works and/or make money from works. Creative Commons licenses attach to the work and authorize everyone who comes in contact with the work to use it consistent with the license.

Working Guidelines:


Regularity in posting leads to a stronger returning readership. It's important to establish a frequent line of posting so that readers anticipate new information and come back often. If unsubscribed readers return to the blog several days in a row with no new posts, they may become frustrated and lose interest in the blog. Ideally, there should be at least one post a weekday. All new users are encouraged to post at least once a week.


Posts should be concise without sacrificing clarity of the information provided. Consider using images, particularly in longer posts. Often, the post's topic can be summarized in a paragraph or two, with more detail (if needed) provided after a break. When including URLs, embed them within text or images to take up less room.

Use of Linking / Manner of Linking

Linking to external resources should be done as appropriate, e.g., when referring to external resources from within your blog entry and when it seems the reader would be interested in quickly navigating out to the primary source. Linking should be accomplished within the selfsame window of the blog entry; popups, while sometimes appropriate, should typically be avoided.


The blog supports a number of categories and contributors should assign at least one category to each post. RSS feeds are available for each category as well as the blog as a whole. If you'd like to add a category, please contact Meredith Shelby.

Content and Tone Framework - Sheridan Libraries Blog

Blog posts are meant to vary in both content and tone in order to showcase the diversity of perspectives, expertise, activities, and resources of the Sheridan Libraries. We have profiled several approaches to posting below in order to guide new blog posters in how they might contribute according to their interests and comfort:

  • The Column: A strong persona posts regularly with a highly individualized voice. In the course of their narrative, they highlight resources, acquisitions, or programming of the Sheridan Libraries while offering a personal, engaging profile of themselves. From this type of post, users are pulled into the fabric of the library culture and can begin to identify with the staff and activities of the library in a personal way. Interaction may occur, depending on the language used by the contributor. Examples: Film Fridays by Leigh Anne Palmer
  • The Brief: Posts are brief, timely, and news-based. The contributor does not need to take on a personality-based persona. From this type of post, users get important updates with immediacy. Interaction is less likely. Example: Water main break alert
  • Resource Profiles: Posts are focused to promote library resources. An individual post might introduce a new library resource, reintroduce an existing resource, give tips and tricks on how to best use a resource, or just plain highlight a resource. From this type of post, users are alerted to useful resources they have available to them without searching for them, increasing discovery. Interaction is unlikely unless questions arise. Examples: Online Resources category
  • Staff Picks: Related to the resource profile, this post might be a review or recommendation of a resource or event from the point of view of the blog contributor. The contributor might show personality or might cultivate an objective stance. Interaction may occur, depending on the tone and language used by the contributor. Example: Sue Waterman's Recommendations
  • Event and Exhibition profiles: Could include announcements and promotions of upcoming events and exhibits. Content from the Spotlight on the homepage could be reused.
  • Multimedia: Podcasting, audio recordings, video tutorials, or visual displays of information. Tone and interaction will vary based on the topic and approach taken.
  • Others: Please contribute in a way that fits you! Talk to a member of the blog team for suggestions or if you would like coaching.

Use of Images

  • Images should relate directly to the content. Be creative: create original graphics if you can. If a graphic is borrowed, get permission if necessary and give credit.
  • Animation should be used sparingly. Avoid loops unless absolutely necessary.
  • Provide a descriptive title for images to assist non-graphic browsers or users of graphic browsers who tend to turn graphics off.

Use of Multimedia

Must be used with discretion. Background sound could be a nuisance while video files take a long time to download. For more information on digital video compression, see this eight page JHU Digital Media Center handout.

Working with Comments/Suggestion Box

Comments should be answered by the poster of the blog entry commented upon, unless other arrangements have been made. Blog guidelines should be followed while answering a comment.
Comments can be edited for language and length; please indicate in some fashion that the comment has been edited. See questions 2 and 8 in the Suggestion Box for examples. If a comment has a negative attitude, please try to defuse it without being defensive or going on the offensive. If a comment seems too negative to post, please contact who? to discuss deleting the comment.

What not to post

Posts to the library blog should conform with the following two policies: the Sheridan Libraries Expectations for Staff Use of Computer Resources as well as JHU IT's Use Policies.

Question: If a site elicits personal information, they need to post a privacy statement? When we request email and name from commentors, is that enough to warrant this kind of statement? Bloomberg privacy

Best Practices

  • Determine in advance what sort of content you might contribute to the blog and how much time you have. For successful, time-sensitive blogging, consider using ?found content? (ready-made data from library email lists, Web news, etc.) rather than drafting original content. See the content and tone framework for possible types of posts.
  • Be yourself. Don't feel you need to write in a way that is uncomfortable for you. Our aim is to share the breadth of expertise (and personality!) of the Sheridan Libraries staff.
  • Keep the users in mind. This is a user-focused blog, where we want to emphasize content that will help, inform, guide, or amuse our users. Our primary audience is not other library specialists.
  • Promote the blog! We shouldn't rely on just being found. Talk up your own work and drive traffic to the blog. If there is a post that might interest someone you know, forward it.
  • Headlines matter. Try to be engaging and specific. Need ideas? Check out Copyblogger.
  • No labels


  1. Unknown User (ekeith2)

    In the guidelines from Karen Schneider's site (Free Range Librarian), I like the Best Practices list, which seems very familiar because I think we've all voiced this at one time or another. I would recommend that we put them in writing, too.

    1. Unknown User (euzelac1)

      I like them too. I've added a category for this on the Guide for new Blog Contributors, alongside the Content and Tone Framework. We'll flesh out more categories this afternoon.

  2. Unknown User (shannan3)

    I have edited the template to add the disclaimer to the footer of all pages. Let me know of any wording changes that need to happen.

    1. Unknown User (lpalme11)

      1. Should we format the the text as lower case or does a footer need to be in caps?

      2. Also, is it possible to delete the "Top" text and embedded link in the footer?

      1. Unknown User (shannan3)

        1. If anything, the footer should be in lowercase so that it draws less attention to itself. Caps in a footer was an odd design choice on the part of the theme designer. (I changed the stylesheet to remove the caps; you might need to close your browser and refresh for it show up.)

        2. Done.

  3. Unknown User (lpalme11)

    1. Thanks. I hadn't closed my browser so the style was still coming up as caps. The lc looks so much better!

    2. Great.