The Fine Print


Maryland AskUsNow! provides timely, authoritative answers to research and library access-specific questions, as well as guidance and "teachable moments" in conducting student personal research using freely available online resources, Sailor, Marina, and customers’ libraries’ databases and collections.  If the customers needs information that is not available online, AskUsNow! will provide resources and referrals that potentially provide the access. 

Every effort is made to provide accurate information; however the libraries do not control the content of resources used. By accessing AskUsNow!, the customer agrees to not hold the libraries liable from any claims, losses, damages, obligations, or liabilities relating to the use of information obtained from this service. The provision of any factual information or materials, and the identification of other websites that may be useful in obtaining additional information regarding legal or medical issues cannot be construed as advice. Only a professional practitioner can provide specific advice and direction in resolving legal and/or medical issues.

By accessing this service, customers agree not to send any question or content that is illegal, harassing, libelous, threatening, harmful, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Customers agree not to send any question or content that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national, or international law.



The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the reproduction, distribution, adaptation, public performance, and public display of copyrighted material. Responsibility for any possible copyright infringement lies solely with the customer; the Library disclaims any responsibility or liability resulting thereof.

Librarians (i.e. Providers) providing service should be aware of the four part Fair Use test when considering whether information provided is in compliance with copyright. University of Texas provides understandable information on Fair Use including this link to the test. 

Local database license agreements supersede copyright law. Individual systems need to check their license agreements and/or talk to their vendors in order to verify if a generic library card may be provided for other libraries to use. When possible, this card number will appear on the library’s policy page to help Providers give customers help as if they were their local librarians. Generic (dummy) library card information is not given to customers.



Maryland AskUsNow! respects customer privacy and confidentiality, and observes applicable laws, policies, and professional codes of conduct. As part of routine reference service in a networked environment, AskUsNow! and the QuestionPoint 24/7 Cooperative collect and retain some customer information for network quality control and security purposes. Thus, email and other electronic communications should not be viewed as absolutely confidential; however, the service strives to protect this information to the fullest extent possible. Transcripts of sessions are kept at the OCLC QuestionPoint 24/7 Cooperative's secure server and used for analysis and training purposes only. In keeping with library policy, customer information is considered confidential and accessible only by designated library staff.  We refer to American Library Association Code of EthicsQuestionPoint Patron Terms of Service, QuestionPoint Librarian Terms of Service, and the OCLC Privacy Statement.


Identifying Information for Customers

When logging into the service, customers may be asked to provide certain identifying information. If customers check the box labeled anonymous, no personal identifying information about them will be revealed.

An email address is not required to access the service at (AUN partner libraries are permitted to make the email address a requirement.), but when available, email is used to send a customer's transcript of their sessions.  No email addresses are provided to entities outside of the libraries providing service. The customer’s name is used by the software to identify a session and in communicating with the customer. While a name is required, it does not have to be the full or real name.  If one is provided, it will be used only in the provision of service from this site.

Information collected about any individual using this service is generally incidental to the technical operation of the system. Such information will not be voluntarily published or shared with any other entity. In the course of clarifying the customer’s request for information the librarian may ask for information regarding purpose (for instance, “Is this for a homework assignment?”), or reading or grade level. Such incidental information will be used to identify appropriate resources only. Any information given to the librarian will be stored in a session transcript.

More information about identifying information for customers on chat is available in the QuestionPoint Patron Terms of Service and OCLC Privacy Statement.