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Privacy Statement

Law Library Privacy Statement

October 26, 2005

The Law Library’s policy is to respect the privacy of all users, in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards.  Your privacy is supported by the Michigan Library Privacy Act Opens in new window, University of Michigan policies and guidelines PDF Document opens in new window and librarians’ professional ethics PDF Document opens in new window which pledge librarians to protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.

The Library will not reveal the identities of individual users or reveal what information sources or services they consult.  This policy applies to all resources regardless of format or means of delivery, as well as to all services offered by the Library.

To aid understanding of the use or value of resources and services the Library may aggregate and retain user data for a reasonable period of time.  It will, however, neither collect nor retain information identifying individuals except during the period when and only for the purpose that such record is necessary to furnish a specific service (for example, loaning a book, ordering a report, recording user service preferences, or for internal service evaluation).  Data on individuals will not be shared with third parties except as required by, and consistent with, the law.

The Practice Guidelines that follow describe how this policy applies to various Library functions.

Practice Guidelines

MLaw Catalog

  1. We gather information about methods of accessing the catalog to analyze trends, and determine popularity of particular titles.  What we collect does not identify you personally.  We collect the IP address, date, and time of accessing the catalog.  The session logs that contain this information are discarded after 14 days.
  2. We also gather personally-identifiable information about items that are requested, checked out, or put on hold.  By default, we purge this information as soon as the item(s) are returned.  Patrons may choose to have their "Reading History" recorded for their own use.  This information can only be accessed by the patron.  Patrons have the ability to delete any or all records from their Reading History, or turn off the recording of Reading History at any time.  We utilize 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to further insure your privacy. 
  3. Both types of information are accessible only by Library staff who need it for the normal conduct of Library business. The information is never used for commercial or marketing purposes and will never be revealed to a third party except as required by, and consistent with, the law.

Circulation:
The Library respects the privacy of all borrowers of library materials.  The Library will not reveal the names of individual borrowers, nor reveal books are, or have been, charged to any individual.  The information we gather to create a patron record for you (name, address, phone, email, and form of identification) is never sold or shared with others.

Collection Development and Resource Management
Comments, purchase recommendations, gifts-in-kind, and special requests from users help to shape the Library’s collections and services.  Purchase and related requests are deemed confidential reader information and not shared outside the Library.  Within the Library, user names are temporarily attached to internal records and shared among relevant staff to facilitate notification of Library actions and follow-through.  Information about gifts received is shared with appropriate University officials.

Contracts and Licenses for Information Resources
The Library expects its information service providers to follow the same standards in the performance of the products they license, lease, or sell to the Library.  Contracts, licenses, and agreements do, as the standard practice, protect the identify of individual users and the information they use.

To provide additional personalized services (such as help using resources, or profiling user interests for future notification), service providers may require users to identify themselves.  Such identification will be only at the user’s discretion and will require the user to follow clearly indicated procedures before the service is activated.  The service provider may not sell, lease, or loan information identifying individual users or the information they use to third parties unless authorized in advance by each user.  To aid understanding of the use or value of resources and services, service providers may aggregate and retain anonymized user data.

Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery
The Library protects the confidentiality of these requests.  In some cases, information about requests is shared with other library staff for collection development purposes; it remains confidential within the Library.  Documentation of requests may be retained as necessary for the Library to comply with auditing, copyright or other regulations.

Library Surveys/Assessment Projects
Information and data obtained by the Library through surveys, group or individual interviews, or other means are considered confidential and will not be shared except in aggregations which protect the privacy of individual participants.  These projects help us assess Library services, collections, facilities, and other resources.

Reference/Research Consultations/Research
Reference, research, and research consultation services are confidential and information about individuals using these services will not be shared outside the Library.  Library staff will not reveal the identity of Library users, the nature of their inquiries, nor the information or sources they consult.  Data about reference, research, or research consultations may be recorded for management or assessment purposes or to compile information on frequently asked questions.

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