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View our Disclaimer and Acceptable Use Policies below

Background to Library Internet Filtering Policy

Leeds City Council has installed computers and provides public Internet access in keeping with its role as a source of information, intellectual development and enrichment for the community.

All internet access is filtered, and users are responsible for the materials accessed.

All users MUST agree to the Acceptable Use Policy before using library computers.

Why is an Acceptable Use Policy necessary ?

The internet is managed by a worldwide, non-statutory collaboration of independent agencies that serve mainly an adult audience. Without appropriate measures, access to unsuitable materials would be possible and security compromised. An Acceptable Use Policy ensures that internet and e-mail use supports Leeds City Council's aims, that responsibilities to the public are met, and that safety and security requirements are satisfied.

How will safe Internet Access be ensured ?

Access to appropriate information should be encouraged and internet access must be safe for all users. Library users are logged on using their library membership and PIN number, or with a guest username and password provided by library staff. Access to the internet through Leeds City Council ICT4Leeds, enables the following strategies to be used to ensure all users are protected: DDR or Dynamic Document Review, a categorised list of blocked sites and an independent dictionary.

The filtering software used contains a number of lists (or categories) of Internet addresses (URLs) that can be marked as allowed or denied, appropriate to the relevant Key Stages (for children) and in accordance with Leeds City Council's Equal Opportunities Policy. Some examples are - Pornography, Racism, Intolerance and Violence.

Using the above categories, a filtering profile has been established for a number of groups of users of our service and will be kept under review. These groups are arranged by age but organised by Key Stage, up to 18 years of age. After the age of 18, users are categorised as adult.

The disallowed categories are assigned to each Key Stage. Sites that are within disallowed categories are blocked automatically. This mechanism provides an additional 'safety' check. It also allows for many more sites than would conventionally be available using the simple 'allowed list' system used by other filtering applications. Filtering systems such as Dynamic Document Review (DDR) give each paragraph of text a rating for sexual, profane, violent or other unacceptable language.

None of these systems can be completely effective and a combination of approaches is used. If internet users consider that an acceptable site has been blocked incorrectly, their first recourse should be to alert a member of library staff, who will be able to contact our supplier and get the site checked and unblocked if appropriate.

Last Updated April 2014