Planning Kit for a Quality Site for Small and Medium Sized Museums

wp5 logo
vai al contenuto

You are in: Home - Quality Check - Principles check - Managed


The Quality Principles Handbook says:


This section examines the ninth quality principle, that «A quality Website must be managed to respect legal issues such as IPR and privacy and clearly state the terms and conditions on which the Website and its contents may be used». It:

  • examines how to interpret the management principle,

  • outlines criteria for establishing whether or not a Website is managed

  • suggests a checklist of Website characteristics to use to ensure management

  • describes a number of tests which can be taken in order to verify that the Website is managed.


The primary concern of this principle is to ensure that due care and attention have been paid to non-technical, non-cultural issues such as intellectual property rights (IPR) management and privacy. This principle focuses, therefore, on the ethical and legal aspects of Website provision.

For cultural Websites, this principle is particularly important. Cultural Websites typically publish a good deal of high-value content on the Internet; the potential for commercial and unauthorised re-use of such material is high. The wide appeal of cultural material means that IPR and rights protection must be high on the agenda for any cultural site. The following are important areas that need to be considered if this principle is to be adhered to:

  • Protection of the rights of the owners of any content published on the site
  • Protection of the rights of the site owner against abuse by the end user
  • Protection of the site owner against litigation by the content owner
  • Protection of the privacy of the end user

This list is not exhaustive, but includes some of most important areas.

Content owner rights

Often, a cultural Website may portray or publish content which represents cultural artefacts or items which do not belong to the site owner. This is particularly the case for portal sites which aggregate and display the holdings of multiple physical institutions. Thus, protecting the rights of the content owner may mean protecting the site owner, but it may also mean protecting third parties.

The protection of owner’s IPR typically involves copyright and defence against the unauthorised reproduction or exploitation of images from the Website. There are a number of approaches to this, including:

  • Protection of the rights of the owners of any content published on the site
  • Publication and user endorsement of Website access conditions and codes of practice
  • Watermarking
    • Visible
    • Invisible
    • Digital

Site owner rights

The creator of a content site probably holds copyright over the structure of the site and the creation of a new database, even if the content itself belongs to third parties or is in the public domain. This means that wholesale copying of a database is not permitted. Practical steps to avoid this are restricted to having the user actively agreeing to a code of practice or access conditions.

Site owner protection against litigation

It is important that any cultural Website be built on a firm legal foundation. If content is to be presented on the Website that has been created by, or is copyrighted by, third parties, then clear legal documentation should exist which formally allows this to occur. This protects the site owner against possible legal difficulties with the content owners. The concrete steps to take here are the establishment of binding legal agreements between all parties.

End user privacy

The end user must also be protected against invasion of privacy. If user information is submitted (e.g. names, addresses) then this must be protected in line with data protection directives. Unwanted cookies or other ‘spyware’ should not be placed on the user’s computer. Unnecessary information about the user should not be maintained on cultural (or any) Websites. The site should contain an explicit privacy policy which can be reviewed by the end user.

Re-use of content

Many cultural Websites have been developed to support formal or informal learning. In this context, the site owner may wish to actively encourage the re-use of materials from the website, such as enabling a school pupil to include an image in a presentation that they are giving to their class. At the same time, many site owners would not wish to see the same image used in a commercial context. Site owners should consider making their resources available under a Creative Commons licence (see This is an international licencing framework that enables content to be made available for non-commercial educational purposes, whilst still protecting the commercial interestsof the site owner.


The following criteria should be met if a site is to be considered managed. The degree of management reflects the number of these criteria which are met; thus a site can be ‘75% managed’ if not all the criteria are met.

  • The content on the site should be protected against unauthorised reproduction or exploitation
  • The IPR of the site owner which cover the site as a new database creation should be protected
  • The relationship between content owner and site owner should be placed on a firm legal footing
  • The privacy of the end user should be protected


This section presents a number of points against which.


End user must actively endorse a code of conduct or access terms and conditions (e.g. by ticking a tick box)

Content quality (e.g. image resolution) is restricted      
Content is watermarked digitally      
Content is visibly watermarked      
Site terms of use protect the site owner from infringement of his IPR over the database as a whole      
Legally binding agreement exists between content owners and site owner, governing the use of content on the site      
User privacy policy available for end user review      
No spyware or tracking cookies used      
Has the implementation of a Creative Commons licence been considered?      

Practical tests

This section suggests some simple, pragmatic tests and questions to be asked in order to assess how completely your Website meets the ‘managed’ principle

  1. Does an end user code of conduct exist?
  2. Must the user actively endorse it? (A tick-box is to be preferred to a ‘click here to agree’ button).
  3. Does the end user code of conduct include protecting the overall database, as well as the content in the database?
  4. Are steps taken to restrict the potential unauthorised reproduction or exploitation of content?
    1. Limited image resolution?
    2. Visible watermarking?
    3. Digital watermarking?
  5. Do legal agreements exist between the site owners and the content owners?
  6. Do these agreements protect the site owner in the event of third party infringements of content owner IPR?
  7. Is a user privacy policy available?
  8. Is it (or a link to it) prominently displayed for the end user?
  9. Are records kept of user access or user information?

  10. Are these records necessary?
  11. Are these records protected in accordance with privacy legislation and directives?
  12. Is the site content available under a Creative Commons license?

© Minerva Project 2005-03, last revision 2006-03-30, edited by WP5, Committee for the development of a prototype of public cultural websites.
URL: www.minervaeurope/structure/workinggroups/userneeds/prototipo/protomuseo/verificaqualita/principi/gestito_e.html