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"Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs): A user-oriented perspective." L. Mackie. D. McMenemy. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2016. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

In order to address the gap in the literature concerning Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs), this research examines the user perspective of AUPs in order to assess their awareness and opinions about the policies in place for the public access computers in UK public libraries. This was done by conducting an online survey about Acceptable Use Policies with UK residents who were recruited through UK-based forums and social media. A representative sample of 22 AUPs from public library authorities in the UK was also studied in order to analyse how libraries are presenting their policies to the user.

The aim of the research is to assess how much the British public know about the policies which they agree to when they use a public access computer in the library, and to discover what they believe should be included in an AUP. This study will also consider what could be done to increase the likelihood of a user reading the AUP and assess how well the chosen sample of AUPs makes itself accessible and readable for the user. The discussion examines what the implications of the survey results and the AUP analysis means for both users and libraries.

It was discovered that terms and conditions such as an Acceptable Use policy were rarely read by the UK residents who were surveyed. In some cases this was due to a belief that they already know what was contained within the document, while in others it was related to the readability, presentation and length of the document. The analysis of the AUPs themselves confirmed that the AUPs have not been written in a way that allows a user of any level of literacy to read and understand them, and variations in length and formatting between the documents means that users are not presented with a consistent library policy which they can learn and apply.