Your Privacy

AskAcademic is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy; however, you are not completely anonymous when you use our service. Please read this Privacy Statement to better understand our practices regarding personal information and how those practices may affect you. Use of the AskAcademic service is your agreement to this Privacy Statement.

This Privacy Statement addresses the following questions:

What Information Do We Collect about You?
After you select “Click Here to Ask a Question” we ask you to tell us the following: your college; your e-mail address; first name; and where you live. While not all of this information is required, we are better able to answer your questions if you enter complete and accurate information. For example:

  • Your College (required): Our service is for the faculty, staff, and students of the member libraries you see listed in the pull-down menu. Telling us which college or university you are associated with helps the librarian in finding local resources for you, as well as for statistical purposes.
  • First Name (required): Because we’re a human-powered search engine, you can see the first name of the librarian you are working with. We like to see your first name too because it helps us to communicate with you. If you are not comfortable providing your real name, you can enter a nickname or alias.
  • Where you Live (required): Because many of the students and faculty at our participating academic libraries may live outside of a main campus, it helps us to know this in order to find the best information to assist you, as well as for statistical purposes.
  • Your Question: Because we’re a human-powered search engine, you can type in your questions using sentences! In exchange for this free service, AskAcademic reserves the right to use questions for publicity, promotional, or other purposes. AskAcademic is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy; therefore, no identifying information will be associated with questions used for these purposes. Questions may be modified for length, spelling, grammar, etc.

How Do We Use Your Personal Information?

AskAcademic uses the personal information you provide in the following ways:

  1. To provide you with the best and most personalized service we can in order to send you the most appropriate information sources for your needs.
  2. In statistical reports. We only use where you live and the level of information you are requesting in our reports.
  3. To contact you via e-mail if you’ve given us permission to do so. Because some questions we receive are simply too complex for our librarians to answer in the reasonable time limit (maximum of 20 minutes) allotted for our sessions, your librarian may offer you the option of a follow-up via e-mail. If you agree, we (or one of our partnering libraries) will contact you via the e-mail address you provide us. Even if we have your e-mail address, you must give us explicit permission to be able to contact you before we will do so.

Do We Store Your Personal Information?
All information that you provide us is stored on secure servers in the form of a “chat transcript.” These transcripts may be stored permanently for the purposes of statistical reporting, research, and training.

AskAcademic retains the right to use stored transcripts for the following purposes:

  1. To e-mail to you as a record of your session and a reminder of resources consulted.
  2. To help train our librarians and ensure that we provide consistent and high-quality service.
  3. To monitor and improve the overall quality of the service.
  4. To mine for aggregated statistical data such as the number of questions received and the average length of sessions.
  5. To be referred to in research papers, articles, training, and presentations (all personal information is stripped from the transcripts before use.)

Exit Surveys: In order to improve the service and better understand your needs and experience, we conclude each session with a voluntary exit survey (depending on your browser settings, you may or may not see this survey.) As with transcript data, exit survey data is stored indefinitely on secure servers and is used to review service quality, identify training needs, and for promotional or publicity purposes. Ask Amigos/AskAcademic reserves the right to use exit survey comments for publicity, promotional, or other purposes. AskAcademic is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy; therefore, no identifying information will be associated with comments used for these purposes. Comments may be modified for length, spelling, grammar, etc.

How Do We Use IP Addresses?
Most web-based services and sites log the IP address and browser type of each visitor, and AskAcademic is no exception. AskAcademic users’ IP addresses are automatically detected.

We use IP addresses to help us understand how our audience uses our service in order to improve our users’ overall experience.

We use IP address data for the purposes of system administration in order to monitor the service for quality control. Inappropriate use of our service may result in the tracking of IP addresses to help us address any issues. See our Mutual Respect and Acceptable Behavior policy.

Will AskAcademic Disclose Any of Your Personal Information?
AskAcademic will disclose your personal information and any communication contained in your transcript only to the extent necessary to fulfill your request for information, or for legal or safety reasons. For example, if you give us permission we may refer your question to a special library in our service. This library will have access to your information in order to contact you with an answer to your question. Or we may be required by law to comply with subpoenas or contact law enforcement in the event of threats related to loss of life or bodily harm. We do not give, rent, lend, or sell individual information to any advertisers.

In addition, AskAcademic collects information about transactions for quality assurance and statistical purposes, and monitors the service for inappropriate or unacceptable behavior. For other information about your privacy, see Privacy of user records in Colorado Revised Statute 24-90-119.

What Else Should You Know about Your Privacy Online?
While we do our best to protect your personal information, AskAcademic cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us, and you do so at your own risk. It is up to you to protect yourself. Please be careful and responsible whenever you are online.

If you are using a computer that others have access to such as in a computer lab, internet cafe, or public library, always remember to log out and close your browser window when leaving the computer.

Our librarians will routinely send you to other sites on the internet. Users of the AskAcademic service should be aware that these other sites have their own separate privacy and data collection practices and policies. AskAcademic assumes no responsibility or liability for these independent policies. In addition, while AskAcademic librarians do their best to verify the reliability and appropriateness of websites sent to you, AskAcademic and its librarians are not liable for any content, advertising, or links contained on those sites. Users of the AskAcademic service assume all responsibility.

If you have further questions or comments, please contact AskAcademic@amigos.org.