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Access to Information | Using the Resources | Recommendations | Legal Issues | Acceptable Use Policy Summary

Access to Information

Guidelines for access to information have already been established in the Library Bill of Rights of 1980. These principles can be applied to the Internet. This document states that "attempts to restrict access to library materials violate the basic tenets of the Library Bill of Rights;" however, college librarians devise collections that are consistent with the philosophy, goals, and objectives of the college and community. This means that students have the right to information, but the school has the right to restrict any information that does not apply to the approved curriculum.

It is not farfetched to consider the Internet as a vast digital library. After all, the electronic database and information search tools it uses are rapidly becoming part of school media centers and libraries, and many public libraries are beginning to offer some type of network access as part of their services.

Using the Resources

All computer accounts (logins) are for the use of a single individual, the person for whom the account was approved. Sharing or loaning accounts is strictly prohibited. Use of these facilities to gain unauthorized access to any other account, at this facility or any other facility, is expressly prohibited.

It may seem that there is no limit to the resources on the Internet, but the network has a limited capacity to handle traffic. This means the more users there are on the network, the more congested the Network becomes. If there are too many users at any given time, the traffic on the network grinds to a crawl. Although the Network may slow down, it will continue to function. The following list will help avoid "gridlock."


You are encouraged to use the Network to pursue intellectual activities, seek resources, access libraries and find international friends. We want you to explore this "cyberspace" and discover what is available there. This resource is new to all of us.

When you are using the computer network and communicating with others in remote or even close locations, keep the following in mind: (1) You cannot see them; (2) You cannot tell how old they are; (3) They can tell you anything, and you cannot always be sure what they are telling you is true; and (4) Absolute privacy cannot be guaranteed in a network environment. So, you need to think carefully about what you say and how you say it.

For your own safety and for the safety of others, remember to exercise caution when you are communicating with people in the outside world. Do not give out your home phone number or your address to anyone. In most cases they do not need to have that information. If you feel there is a problem or if you feel uncomfortable with the information someone is giving you, leave that site, or contact a staff member in the center for assistance.

Privacy and security of your credit card number is not guaranteed. Therefore, purchasing online is not recommended.

By the same token, you may not harass other users. You don't want to run the risk of breaking the law by bothering other people. If a user on the Network asks that you no longer send them mail or in any other way contact them, you are obliged to stop all contact immediately. You may feel you have the right of freedom of expression, but others have the right to be free from harassment.

Legal Issues


The State of California passed a computer crime bill in December of 1979. The bill added section 502 to the Penal Code making it a felony to intentionally access any computer system or network for the purpose of: (1) devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud or extort or (2) obtaining money, property, or services with false or fraudulent intent, representations, or promises.

It is also a felony to maliciously access, alter, delete, damage or destroy any computer system, computer network, computer program, or data. Penalties include fines up to $5000 and/or imprisonment in the state prison for up to three years or the county jail for up to one year. Anyone committing acts of this kind will face police charges, and disciplinary action by the college. The person will be punished to the full extent of the law.

Some examples of offenses are removing another user's accounts, changing other user's passwords, using an unauthorized account, damaging or deleting files, altering the system, or using the system to make money illegally. You cannot cause damage to any school or District property. This includes the Network system. *Promptly reporting a Network problem by notifying a staff member in the center is encouraged.


The dictionary defines plagiarism as "taking ideas or writings from another person and offering them as your own." The student who leads readers to believe that what they are reading is the student's original work when it is not is guilty of plagiarism. Credit should always be given to the person who created the article or the idea.

Be careful when you are using the Internet. Cutting and pasting ideas into your own document is very easy to do. So, be sure that you give credit to the author. That way your instructor will know which ideas are yours, and you won't be guilty of plagiarism.


Copyright is another issue altogether. According to the Copyright Act of 1976, "Fair Use" means that you may freely use any information that you legally find on the Internet as long as you do so only for scholarly purposes. You may not plagiarize or sell what you find.

Suppose, for example, that you find a copy of Microsoft Works on the Internet. Could you legally copy it? The answer is NO. This is copyrighted software. You have to purchase software packages before you use them legally. Suppose you find an article about the use of Microsoft Works on the Internet. Can you legally copy it? The answer is yes, as long as you give credit to the author and do not sell the article for profit.

Acceptable Use Policy Summary

By using our network you acknowledge that the college does not have control of the information on the Internet. Sites accessible via the Internet may contain material that is illegal, defamatory, inaccurate or potentially offensive to some people. While the Golden West College Student Computer Center's intent is to make Internet access available to further its students' educational goals and objectives, account holders will have the ability to access other materials as well.

The college believes that the benefits to educators and students from access to the Internet, in the form of information resources and opportunities for collaboration, far exceed any disadvantages of access.

  1. By using our network you also agree to the following terms:
  2. You have read, understand and agree to abide by the information and requirements contained in this document.
  3. You will not use the college's network for illegal purposes of any kind.
  4. You will not install software other than onto your own disk.
  5. You will not use the college's Network to transmit threatening, obscene, or harassing materials. The District will not be held responsible if you participate in such activities. You agree that the college is not responsible for such behavior on your part.
  6. You will not use the Network to interfere with or disrupt network users, services or equipment. Disruptions include, but are not limited to, distribution of unsolicited advertising (spamming), propagation of computer worms and viruses, and using the network to make unauthorized entry to any other machine accessible via the network.
  7. It is assumed that information and resources accessible via the college's Network are private to the individuals and organizations which own or hold rights to those resources and information unless specifically stated otherwise by the owners or holders of rights. Therefore, you will not use the college's Network to access information or resources unless permission to do so has been granted by the owners or holders of rights to those resources or information.
  8. You will not attempt to access the school's network from a location other than the Student Computer Center.