Like most libraries, ZSR strongly believes in protecting the privacy of the scholars and researchers who use our collections and services. Our privacy policy puts it this way: “When you use our library, it is nobody’s business but your own what you read or research.” Our commitment to user privacy is backed up by the library profession’s code of ethics and by the NC General Assembly.

Like most libraries (and other organizations), ZSR also sometimes needs information about how our web sites get used. Information about how users find our online services, how often they do or don’t use them once they’re here, what paths they take through our web sites—answering these questions helps us make continual improvements to our sites. To help get those answers, we have long used Google Analytics.

The conflict here is easy to spot. While Google Analytics doesn’t violate the letter of our privacy policy (and we take steps to minimize the data it can record), it doesn’t quite align with the spirit of that policy. A lot of data about each user is sent to, and stored by, Google, and while that data is anonymized, even anonymous data can often be used to track users from site to site.

To be very clear, Google Analytics has a long history of safeguarding the data it collects. But it is even safer if that data never leaves ZSR in the first place, and we have options for web analytics that we can run locally with no data transfer to any third party.

We are happy to announce that, starting July 1, 2019, we will remove Google Analytics from ZSR web sites. Going forward, when we need to measure how our sites get used, we will rely on tools that do not send data to external third parties.