(by Peter Hirtle)
In Section 12.9 of Copyright & Cultural Institutions, I discuss briefly whether FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, governs the digitization of student papers and theses. I concluded “In order to digitize and distribute papers from its students, therefore, the cultural heritage institution will need to secure the student’s permission.”
A much more thorough discussion of the issue was recently published in D-Lib Magazine. In “FERPA and Student Work: Considerations for Electronic Theses and Dissertations,” Marisa Ramirez and Gail McMillan share several campus approaches to FERPA and electronic student work. I was particularly pleased to learn about a 1993 opinion from the FERPA office that suggested that if the normal practice at a school was to make student papers available through the library, no change in practice was required (so long as students were made aware of this policy). Some of the examples given in the article of how to notify students that their papers will be available online are also very useful.
This article will be required reading for anyone who wishes to digitize student work.