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Data Collected by Library Search

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Answered By: Matthew Reidsma
Last Updated: Jul 01, 2021     Views: 1090


The first time you log into the new Library Search you are going to be presented with a screen asking you to consent to data collection. This screen tells you that our vendor, EBSCO, needs to collect and store some user data while using our system to provide access to the system's full functionality. Before they can do that they need you to permit them to do so. This is a common practice for web-based systems and our previous systems were collecting similar data. Notifying you is to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our new system collects a limited amount of information and much of it is immediately anonymized. The new system is collecting the following pieces of data:

  • GVSU Username - to ensure you are an authorized user of the system our vendor must collect your username. They also need this information to associate any items or searches that you want to save with your account.
  • Anonymized Search data - The vendor collects search data which is anonymized and presented to the library in an aggregate form to help us make informed decisions based on collection usage.
  • Personally Identifiable Information - EBSCO also provides hosting services for the side of the system that manages our material checkouts, user requests, and fines. When you use those services the system stores the necessary data to associate you with the items you are using or requesting. Once those items are returned all data that would associate your use with that item is removed. The only time we can see what items you have used is when those items are currently checked out to you or are on hold for you. In addition, the University Libraries keeps your email address, and local address or office address on file so we can send notices and materials to you. 

You can choose to opt out of the data collection and still use most of our services. You will still be able to search and use online content, search for physical books, and check materials out of the library. If you opt out you will not be able to place requests, renew books online, save searches, or save items as those tasks would require the vendor to store your information. To checkout physical material you would need to go to the library, pull the materials yourself, and check them out at the Service Desk.

You can learn more about this notification by reading EBSCO's Help entry on their privacy policy notifications.