Director of Strategic Technology Partnerships & Initiatives
University of Virginia
Protecting user privacy and the retention of library usage data are contradictory goals and fuel debate across our community. Meeting the privacy goal often means a loss of data that is critical for answering research questions, unmet demands for targeted collections, and an impediment to our ability to make data driven decisions overall. The University of Virginia (UVA) had extensive circulation data but lacked enterprise data and data across disparate library systems. A request for diversity, equity, and inclusion data in 2020 resulted in an assessment of data collection, data quality, access to data, risk to user privacy, retention policies, and policy communication. Based on this assessment, UVA launched projects to align privacy and retention policies, reduce risk to user privacy, coalesce data from across University systems, and build an application to discover, mine, and extract the data. This session will discuss the threat to user privacy, retention trends among peer institutions, and the partnership with the institution to address security and ethics of data collection. It will also include an application demo and a discussion of the data that was collected (or not and why), what this effort enables, and how it addresses user privacy. Time for discussion will be included in order to gauge interest among institutions and to consider broadening the practice across institutions. Could data collectively help address valuable research at a greater scale? The application is not publicly accessible due to nature of the data involved.