The U.S. Department of Education has disabled access to many full-text documents in its digital research library after officials discovered that personal information associated with some of the published studies was available on the site.
The Education Resources Information Center, or eric, is a searchable database of more than 1.4 million research abstracts, publishers’ materials, and full-text studies. The center, which was launched nearly 50 years ago and underwent a major redesign of its online database in 2004, is sponsored by the department’s Institute of Education Sciences.
While many of the documents have been available publicly on microfiche for years, the easy access to the information via the Internet raised concerns about the privacy of individuals whose information is included in the documents, according to a notice on the ERIC site. Each of the documents in question will be checked, many of them by hand, according to the statement. The center is hiring a team of support staff to do that work, which will begin later this month.
Requests for records will be accepted by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 2012 edition of Education Week as Ed. Dept. Disables Access to ERIC