Frequently Asked Questions

What data does the library collect?

We collect information when you use the library resources and services such as:

  • Database/online resources
  • Check outs (books, DVDs, etc) including interlibrary loan requests and Special Collections materials
  • Email reference service and scheduled consultations with library staff
  • Library instruction sessions
  • Library website

Can I see data about my use of Library services?

You can view your library materials check-out history. We will be developing more robust tools for your use in the future.

Who has access to the data?

Access to the data is governed by the University of Michigan data policies. Under those policies, only U-M employees with demonstrated business need have access to the data.

We also comply with University of Michigan Institutional Review Board policies.

Is personally identifying information publicly available?

No. Any published data will be in aggregate form or otherwise stripped of identifying information.

Where are the data stored?

On secure servers administered by U-M IT staff.

I’m not currently a University of Michigan faculty, staff, or student.  Are you collecting data about my use of library services?


How long will you keep data about the use of Library services?

It depends on the data and how we are using it.  Some data will be kept indefinitely, other data is stored and used for shorter periods.  We only keep data as long as it is useful for the services we provide.  

Does the library use Google Analytics?

Yes, see Library Privacy Policy.

Who can I contact for more information about this policy?

Please contact Ask a Librarian or

Does FERPA affect data use or collection?

Yes. The University of Michigan complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Federal law that governs release of and access to student education records.

Can data be obtained through a FOIA request?

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act is a broad disclosure law that requires the university to make many of its records publicly available upon request.  Library records, however, get special protection under Michigan Law, which specifically shields library records from FOIA.  A “library record” is a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that contains information that personally identifies a library patron, including the patron's name, address, or telephone number, or that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials from a library. De-identified and aggregated data that does not include identifying material is not protected by Michigan Law and is subject to FOIA.  

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