The Fine Print


AUN provides timely, authoritative answers to factual questions as well as guidance in conducting personal research using the freely available web resources, SAILOR, MARINA and customers’ libraries’ databases and collections.

Every effort is made to provide accurate information, however the libraries do not control the content of resources used. By using AskUsNow!, the user 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 web sites 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 using 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 user; the Library disclaims any responsibility or liability resulting thereof.

Librarians 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 chatting librarians give customers help as if they were their local librarians. Generic (dummy) library card information are not given to customers.


Maryland AskUsNow! respects patron privacy and confidentiality, and observes applicable laws, policies, and professional codes of conduct. As part of routine reference service in a networked environment, Maryland AskUsNow! and QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference collect and retain some patron 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 secure server and used for analysis 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 Ethics and related documentation on patron privacy and QuestionPoint Patron Terms of Service.

Identifying Information for Customers

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

An e-mail address is not required to use the service, but when available, email is used to send customers a transcript of their session or to follow-up on a particular question that could not be answered in the live chat. No e-mail 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 user. 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.