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Online Reference Privacy Policy

This policy is intended to let you know what information is collected by our online reference service and how it is used.

Privacy statement

Representatives of any local, state, or federal government, with a valid subpoena or search warrant, may obtain your records. In no other circumstance does Albertsons Library share private information about specific individuals (e.g. IP address, e-mail addresses, names, phone numbers, etc …). Non-identifying information such as usage statistics may be used for library reports or publications.

Definition of online reference

The term “online reference” in this policy includes email and text messages sent to the Library Questions & Answers system and instant messaging communications via the libraries Chat with Us service. Individual electronic communications with library employees are considered confidential but are not subject to this policy.

Information collected

To submit an email question via the Library Question & Answers system, patrons must include an email address or telephone number so that we can respond. In addition, the patron has the option of leaving a name and answering a question about his or her affiliation with Boise State University. This information is available to library staff who monitor the service. It is not available to the public.

Text messages sent to the Library Question & Answers system necessarily include the patron’s telephone number. This information is collected by a third party vendor (Springshare) and is used only to facilitate communication between patrons and library staff. Patron telephone numbers can not be viewed by library staff or the public.

Names, email addresses, and telephone numbers are deleted from the Library Question & Answers system on a rolling 30-day basis.

The Chat with Us service retains a transcript of every chat session as well as the patron’s IP address. The patron can also choose to provide a name, which would be saved as part of the session transcript. Transcripts, IP addresses, and names are available to library staff who monitor the system. They are not made public. Patrons are also given the option to request a copy of their transcript via email, but email addresses are not recorded by the system.

Library use of non-identifying information

Non-identifying information from the Library Question & Answers and Chat with Us systems may be used

  • improve online reference and provide better service to all patrons
  • analyze the amount and types of questions we are being asked
  • train librarians for the service
  • compile statistics about usage