Ask (Chat with a Librarian) Privacy Policy

The Library respects the privacy of our patrons. This policy is intended to let users know what information is collected by the chat service and how it is used.

What Information is Collected?

The Library uses the Virtual Reference Desk software by LivePerson. The software keeps a transcript of every chat reference session, including the complete conversation between the librarian and the patron, as well as all the Web sites visited. A copy of the transcript can be emailed to the patron at the completion of the session, if requested, and a copy is stored in the database. Normally, the patron’s name is stored with the transcript, which allows the librarians to see how patrons are using the service.

Libraries participating in the service can keep a copy of the transcripts of each session. These transcripts may be used to evaluate and improve the service. Data will be deleted from the Live Person software after a twelve-month period.

What is the information used for?

The information is used to help analyze the amount and types of questions we are being asked. This helps determine appropriate staffing levels, and aides in training librarians for the service.

Who has access to this information?

The information collected by the Library is only accessible to librarians associated with the Ask a Librarian project.

Who does the Library share the information with?

Individual chats are not shared with anyone outside of the Ryerson Library. Statistics generated from chat logs, as well as excerpts, may be used for reports or publications. However, information about specific individuals ( e.g. IP address, names, phone numbers, etc.) that might be included as part of a chat transcript will never be shared outside of the Ryerson Library.

Level of Service

While we do our best to help users with their queries, more complex questions may need to be discussed in person at the Library. We will try to provide you with initial suggestions to get you started.

The chat reference service is primarily intended for the students, faculty, staff and affiliates of Ryerson University. We regret that we can provide only a limited level of service for those unaffiliated with Ryerson University.

Privacy Statement

Here is the information requested when you log in:

  • Name – We require a name so we can differentiate you from other users. If you are not comfortable providing your real name, you can enter a nickname or made-up name.
  • Status (optional) – We ask your status in relation to the University (undergraduate, graduate student, etc.). This information can provide useful context in answering your question.
  • University Affiliation – this service is collaboratively run with other university libraries in the province.  Identifying which institution you are from will help the service providers direct you to appropriate sources of information that are accessible to you.

Personal data and transcripts will be kept strictly confidential and will only be accessible to authorized staff. We will not disclose any personal data we collect from you or to any party in a manner that would identify you, except to fulfil your service request, or where required by law.  For more information, please consult Ryerson University’s Information Protection and Access Policy or contact the Information and Privacy Officer at fippa@ryerson.ca or Cecile Farnum, Virtual Reference Coordinator [cfarnum@ryerson.ca].