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 by our chat service
- What the information is used for
- Who has access to the information
- With whom the information may be shared
- What choices are available to you regarding collection, use and distribution of the information
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 is emailed to the patron at the completion of the session, 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. No matter what, the transcripts remain the property of the library and are closely guarded with several levels of security.
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.
What choices do users have…?
Any patron that wants to have a record of their chat deleted may email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the deletion of their chat transcript from the Ask a Librarian Live database. Users will need to know the date and exact time their chat started in order to be sure the exact chat can be found.
Level of Service
Chat Reference sessions often take 15-20 minutes to answer. A chat reference staff member may refer you to other resources or contacts if s/he is unable to find an adequate answer to your question after 20 minutes. More complex question may need to be discussed in person at the Library, but 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.
Ryerson University Libraries collect only the minimum amount of information from users necessary to provide effective service. Here is the information we request 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.
- Email address (optional) – If you provide an email address, a transcript of the session will be sent to your address at the end of the session.
- Phone number (optional) – If we accidentally disconnect, this will allow us to follow up with you.
- 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.
- Location – Knowing where you are accessing resources also helps us answer your question and determines the kinds of materials we can recommend to you.
The Libraries temporarily keep a copy of the transcripts of each session. These transcripts may be used to evaluate and improve the service. Also, this allows us to refer to recent transcripts when answering your question, helping us provide better service. Data will be deleted after a twelve-month period.
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 fulfill 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 email@example.com or Sonny Banerjee, Virtual Reference Coordinator [firstname.lastname@example.org].