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Neil Witt :: Blog :: To BB Scholar or NOT BB Scholar

January 31, 2008


I’ve been looking recently at the terms of use Blackboard Scholar to see whether it really is a good thing or not. Its all a bit worrying really because its all a bit restrictive and to put it mildly, the use of BB Scholar means that projects are restricted in:

1) Their ability to change, adapt or alter the software in any way. This is because the source code is closed and access is by a proprietary licence rather than an open source licence. This is not surprising in light of BB’s recent attempts to patent its software

2)  Projects are contractually obliged to get pretty comprehensive permissions for uploading content containing third party rights on to BB Scholar. This is because the BB Scholar’s terms of use includes the statement relating to uploaded content: “ you automatically grant and/or warrant that the owner has granted Blackboard, the perpetual royalty-free, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, distribute, perform, display, and transmit the User Content to Scholar. You also permit any other user of Blackboard with access to that Services, subject to your restrictions, to access, view, store, and reproduce the User Content to the same extent permitted herein.    http://www.scholar.com/termsofuse.html 

3) If by chance projects were to upload any content for which they had not got all the permissions, then crucially, you would “… agree to indemnify and hold Blackboard, and its affiliates, officers, agents, partners, and employees, harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorney’s fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of User Content you submit, post to, email, or otherwise transmit through the Services, your use of the Services, your connection to the Services, or your breach of the TOU.”

 The question is whether BB would enforce any of this? At any rate, these terms of use underpin the Service provided by BB and should not be taken lightly….so to “BB Scholar or not BB Scholar”, maybe but with eyes open about the ramifications of NOT complying with the terms of use…

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Posted by Neil Witt


  1. I'm not much of a fan of Scholar, why not use delicious? However, the terms and conditions seem similar in delicious -

    "You understand and agree that you use the Site and Services at your own discretion and risk and that you will be solely responsible for any damages that arise from such use."

    "By posting content, you are granting permission to us and others to access and use it in connection with the Services, the Site and otherwise in connection with our business"

    "del.icio.us is explicitly not responsible for the manner or circumstances by which third parties access or use public content and is under no obligation to disable or otherwise restrict this access. del.icio.us provides you with the ability to retrieve and remove your posted content and your personal information from the Site and the Services."


    Chris HallChris Hall on Friday, 01 February 2008, 15:15 GMT # |

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