Online Communication Policies
The LSU website strives to enable the university to attract prospective students; market the university; facilitate effective communication between students, faculty, staff and researchers; and effectively guide all users to university resources. A coordinated and consistent identity is essential to the success of LSU’s website.
Department websites residing on LSU.edu or other university-controlled resources will be subject to periodic review by the LSU Division of Strategic Communications.
LSU activities related to the web and all forms of online communication must be consistent with LSU policies and procedures. All individuals involved in the development and/or maintenance of an LSU website are encouraged to familiarize themselves with all applicable web policies, standards and guidelines.
Units may be asked by Strategic Communications to make updates or changes in order to be compliant with PS-10 or other policies relevant to online communications.
Policies Relevant to Online Publishing
- PS-10: Internal and External Communications
- PS-26: Policy for Persons with Disabilities
- PS-93: Use of University Name and Indicia
- PS-107: Computer Users’ Responsibilities
- PM-17: Fair Use of Copyrighted Material
- LSU Brand Guide
- Website Accessibility Requirements
- Web Oversight
- Copyright Compliance
- Commercial, Promotional and Advertising Activities
- Confidential Information
- Classification of Websites
- Requirements of Official LSU Websites
- Affiliated and Unofficial LSU Webpages
In order to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, websites developed by LSU units should make every attempt to ensure that pages are accessible to individuals using a variety of browsing methods. LSU websites incorporating multimedia, extensive scripting and/or interactive applications must provide important information contained in those features in an alternate text form in order for the information to be accessible to users with hearing or sight impairments.
The university's primary website content management solution, OU Campus, validates webpages using WCAG 2.0-AA standards. Content managers in each campus unit are responsible for running the OU Campus "Accessibility Check" on pages they manage to ensure that individual pages remain in compliance.
Other Institutional Policies
Permanent administrative units and committees may adopt additional requirements and/or suggestions for their units’ webpages. These additional requirements/suggestions must comply with LSU policies and procedures.
Basic Accessibility Checklist
- Header tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6) should be used to present semantic meaning or
hierarchical order. Header tags should not be used only as a means to modify the appearance
of text. For instance, don’t use header markup simply because it’s large, bold text. Assistive technology relies upon the default
semantic meaning that is associated with HTML elements. In particular, the h1 should be used to described
the purpose or title of the page. Headers like h2, h3, etc. should be used for headlines or
the identification of page sections. Header tags should be used in order and not skipped
- Use lists to group similar information, such as links in navigation menus. Lists promote visual groups of information, which is easier for users to consume. Lists also preserve semantic associations for blind users. Lists are well supported with assistive technology.
- Content structure is important for users using assistive technology. For this reason, it is important to use proper HTML formatting for lists. Unordered lists should utilize the default bulleted list tag <ul>. Sequential lists should utilize the default alpha-numerical tag <ol>; nested sequential lists should be allowed to use the default browser encoding for nested <ol>.
- Blockquotes should only be used to indicate quoted text; <blockquote> allows assistive technology to render quoted text in a different manner than other text. For this reason, blockquotes should not be applied to text for aesthetic purposed only. (The blockquotes are styled in OU campus to help set this text apart for visual users, however it should not applied for the sole purpose of making text look different.)
- Links should be clearly labeled, descriptive, and readily identified. Link text should make sense when read by itself; using generic labels like "click here" and "more" without the use of a supplemental description is discouraged.
- When linking to PDFs, the link should be set to open in a new window and the link title should indicate that the browser will be downloading a PDF.
- Redundant links should not be used (for example, a common practice is linking an image and adjacent text to the same URL). The result of providing redundant/adjacent links is that assistive technologies, like screen readers, will read the same information twice, which results in impaired navigation.
- HTML tables should not be used for layout or to control the style of the page elements. They should only be used to convey information. Tables should never be nested. (Please note, the use of the columned intake tables in OU Campus are not HTML tables, when the page is published, the intake tables are converted into appropriately coded HTML divisions and styles.)
- Videos should be captioned and a text-transcript available for hearing impaired.
- Images that convey information or meaning must have descriptive alternative text. Charts and graphs may also require additional detailed descriptions so that users can understand their purpose.
Content publishers in LSU's implementation of OU Campus have the ability to run an accessibility check each time a page is published. When the Accessibility check indicates a "Known Problem," the content publisher should cancel the publish and correct the error. If the content publisher is unsure of how to correct the problem, they should contact a web developer in the Division of Strategic Communications or a Web Administrator in the Office of Information and Technology Services for assistance.
Strategic Communications and Information Technology Services, or ITS, are charged with oversight of LSU.edu and are responsible for supporting and maintaining official sites.
Units, schools, departments and individuals residing on university servers or requesting links to sites maintained outside of university servers, must abide by university guidelines. LSU websites will be monitored for compliance. Failure to comply with policies, procedures and requirements can result in the removal of pages, removal of links or loss of access to systems as deemed necessary.
Web publishers are responsible for compliance with current copyright laws and relevant university policies. (See PM 17, “Fair Use of Copyrighted Material”). Copyrighted information may not be posted without permission of the copyright holder (owner). Individuals transmitting or extracting information from LSU units are responsible for investigating copyright issues. Publication in electronic format, rather than in print, in no way changes the underlying copyright issues.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) represents the most comprehensive reform of United States copyright law in a generation. The Act seeks to update U.S. copyright law for the digital age in preparation for ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, treaties. Key among the topics included in the DMCA are provisions concerning the circumvention of copyright protection systems, fair use in a digital environment and online service provider, or OSP, liability.
Commercial, Promotional and Advertising Activities
Personal Financial Gain
Commercial activity for personal financial gain is not permitted. Advertising services and programs, within the purview of the LSU Board of Supervisors, is permissible.
Web publishers may acknowledge donations/contributions by creating links to selected organizations/corporations that are primary contributors to the campus.
- Criminal and civil statutes
Users of LSU servers and publishers of LSU.edu webpages are free to express themselves provided that they do not do anything to injure or harm others. Users and publishers may not use the LSU website for acts that violate laws. The web may not be used to encourage any activity associated with illegal drugs, gambling, pornography, prostitution, child pornography, theft, spreading computer viruses, cracking into private computer systems, software infringement, trafficking in credit card codes or crimes. Publishers must adhere to existing laws regarding defaming others and personal negligence. Any activity that is illegal is a violation of LSU policy. Alleged violations will be referred to the appropriate authority. In addition, offenders may be investigated and/or prosecuted by the appropriate local, state or federal authorities. If in doubt about appropriate content, individuals are encouraged to obtain the advice of campus counsel.
The university seeks to provide an environment that encourages access to knowledge and the sharing of information. The university has an obligation to maintain conditions under which the work of the university can go forward freely, in accordance with the highest standards of quality, institutional integrity and freedom of expression, with full recognition by all concerned of the rights and privileges, as well as the responsibilities, of those who comprise the university community. Three classes of LSU websites have been established:
Official pages are created and maintained by official LSU units and departments to disseminate information deemed contributive to the goals and objectives of individual LSU units. The Division of Strategic Communications and Information Technology Services facilitate webpage creation, maintenance, evaluation and updating of official pages.
Official pages include, the LSU homepage and gateway pages, the LSU Board of Supervisors, President's Office, administrative units and committees directly supervised by the President's Office, the Executive Vice President and Provost , the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, the Vice President for Student Affairs; academic units supervised by deans, the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate. Exceptions to this classification include the LSU Athletic Department.
Affiliated pages are those created by university recognized student, faculty or staff organizations. These pages are created and maintained by these units. The Division of Student Affairs determines which student organizations are recognized by the university. (See requirements related to affiliated pages).
Faculty, staff and student pages created to present personal and professional interests. These pages are created and maintained by individuals. (See requirements related to unofficial pages).
LSU websites adhering to the following criteria may be linked from the official LSU website. All official departmental websites are subject to periodic review by Strategic Communications. These sites must adhere to the PS-10, PS-30, PS-93, PS-107, LSU Brand Guide, and the LSU Online Communications Policy. Any questions, comments or concerns should be addressed to Strategic Communications through at email@example.com.
The following information must appear on every webpage of an official LSU website, specific information for using these items follows:
- The LSU Logo
- Unit contact information including but not limited to, the name of the unit, telephone and e-mail. A convenient way to incorporate this information is by applying a footer to all site pages.
- Link to LSU homepage. Convenient methods of linking to the homepage are by using the LSU logo to link to the homepage or by including a link to the homepage in the footer.
- Link to unit homepage
- Copyright designation (Copyright © YYYY. All Rights Reserved. Official webpage of Louisiana State University.)
- (Optional) Date page if the information is time sensitive and/or of a nature that lack of date would cause users concern over whether the information is reliable or not
Please review the guidelines in “Linkage” for requirements related to linking to external websites and affiliated and unofficial websites. Any official LSU website linking to unofficial pages should verify that the standard disclaimer appears on the affiliated or unofficial website prior to establishing a link to the website.
Intellectual Property Ownership
LSU owns the copyright and/or trademark rights to any content of official and professional outreach pages.
Copyright and trademark of content on affiliated pages is determined by the affiliated organization.
Copyright and trademark content on unofficial pages are owned by the individual unit that creates such pages unless otherwise noted.
When Strategic Communications is notified of a new or changed URL for an official website, a link to the website will be established on LSU.edu where appropriate, provided that all university policies and procedures have been adhered to. If a link cannot be established, the unit content manager will be notified.
When Strategic Communications is asked to establish a link to an affiliated or unofficial website, the appropriate campus unit will be notified of the link request, provided that the “Standard Disclaimer for Affiliated and Unofficial websites” appears on the homepage.
Guidelines for linking to external sites
External sites are defined as websites that do not reside on servers owned by LSU or websites that are not managed by a university department. Servers residing in department locations outside of ITS are considered university servers.
When linking to external sites, all official unit websites must alert the site user that the selected link is no longer an LSU.edu website. For specific suggestions on external linking, see "Web Development.”
Linking to external websites is permitted in the following situations:
- The link is to a professional association, governmental agency, educational institution, non-profit agency, etc.
- A for-profit business that has a recognized relationship with the university. The link must be approved by LSU Procurement.
When creating the link, the following conditions must be adhered to:
- External links must be identified and identified consistently within a unit website.
Notification that a link points to a non-LSU website can be provided in several ways:
- text indicating a series of links are outside of LSU.edu
- forcing a new browser window to open when a link is selected. Note: If this method is being used to alert users that they are being linked to different unit site at LSU.edu, then another mechanism should be used to alert users that they are being linked to a site outside LSU.edu.
- a pop-up window with text indicating the selected link is outside of LSU.edu
- placing icons next to external links and providing a site legend explaining the purpose of the icon
- Only text links are allowed. The use of logos on web pages is prohibited unless a vendor contract has been approved through Finance and Administration.
Affiliated and Unofficial pages linked from any official LSU department site will not be monitored for content or design and are not subject to the LSU Web Guidelines and Standards or PS-10. Developers of these sites are encouraged to comply with applicable laws and policies (i.e., Student Organizations must adhere to guidelines set forth in the Student Organization Handbook).
Any Affiliated and Unofficial website linked from an official LSU website is required to have the “Standard Disclaimer for Affiliated and Unofficial Pages” placed on the homepage of the site. Failure to post the disclaimer will result in the deactivation of links from the LSU website. (See the “Standard Disclaimer for Affiliated and Unofficial pages.”)
Standard Disclaimer for Affiliated and Unofficial LSU Webpages
Information published by student organizations and by individual faculty, students, and staff is considered unofficial and is not subject to PS-10 (Internal and External Communications). Additional guidelines have been added for unofficial information published using Louisiana State University equipment. The information published on electronic media will not be edited or censored for content, but the homepage must contain a disclaimer stating the following:
The statements and opinions included in <insert name of site> are those of <insert website administrator> only. Any statements and opinions included in these webpages are not those of Louisiana State University or the LSU Board of Supervisors.
Example: The statements and opinions included in Mike the Tiger’s webpages are those of Mike the Tiger only. Any statements and opinions included in these webpages are not those of Louisiana State University or the LSU Board of Supervisors.
Any affiliated or unofficial website that does not have the disclaimer posted will have its link removed from the official LSU website.
Any individual or unit wishing to have a link established on any LSU.edu website must adhere to the policies and procedures relating to the classification of the website being linked to (i.e., official pages must follow all policies and guidelines established for official pages). When unit sites provide links to affiliated and/or unofficial LSU websites, the unit providing linkage should verify that the site displays the required disclaimer.
Affiliated and unofficial websites residing on LSU.edu servers and all LSU student organizations, must contain the standard disclaimer for affiliated and unofficial LSU webpages. Before linking official unit websites to affiliated or unofficial websites, verify that the disclaimer is in place.
LSU.edu homepage and its upper tier pages collect no personal, identifiable information about site users.
Some non-personal information is collected from site users:
- time of access
- IP address accessed from
- pages accessed from the LSU.edu homepage or a gateway page
- browser type and configuration.
The information gathered is used to help improve the functionality of the LSU.edu website.
If you choose to share information with us, we will not sell that information to other entities.
Students, Faculty and Staff agree to use this site under the governance of the LSU Computer Policy.