The Legal Liability of Information Professionals
10 Rules for Self-Protection
1 Ensure all contracts are in writing.
2 If you are drafting a contract, insert a brief disclaimer. Four points:
Limit your own liability for negligence
Limit your liability in the case of database errors or omissions
Limit your liability in the case of limitations placed on you by your client
Exclude liability to non-clients.
3 Along with your report of search results, include details of:
databases not searched
limitations of particular databases.
4 Do not purport to search in areas where you have no expertise.
5 Keep up with all relevant literature, new training sessions, and online conferences.
Keep in touch with your professional peers.
6 Do not provide a client with search results unless you are satisfied that your work can stand the scrutiny of your peers.
7 Develop and use standard procedures and checklists to ensure consistency and thoroughness. Always keep a record of your search.
8 Always read the subscription agreement and do not download without permission.
9 Do not associate with "hackers" under any circumstances.
10 Brace yourself for the next stage: information science malpractice insurance.
(Martin Felsky. 1989. The legal liability of information professionals. CJIS v4 no. 3, 1-15.)