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Website privacy and cookies policy


Website privacy and cookies policy

Why we collect data

This statement explains what information we gather when you visit our website and lets you know how this information is used and protected.

The purpose for collecting and processing data is to maintain and monitor the performance of our website, and to constantly look to improve the services we offer you.

On a legal basis, we are processing your personal data for our legitimate interests, you have the right to object to our processing of your personal data. We use this information to bring you the best content and experience on our website. If you don’t provide us with the required personal data, we’ll try to provide you with the best service, but it may be difficult.

The University of Essex is registered as a Data Controller with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Registration Number: Z699129X

What does a legitimate interest mean?

We process your information for our legitimate interests and those of third parties while applying appropriate safeguards that protect your privacy. This means that we process your information for things such as:

  • Maintaining and improving our services to meet the needs of our users
  • Understanding how people use our services to improve the performance of our services
  • Ensuring our services to provide you with a better user experience
  • Detecting, preventing or otherwise addressing fraud, abuse, security or technical issues with our services
  • Researching and improving our services for our users

When this policy applies

The University Library Services website is located at Our web pages also link to external websites: the University has no responsibility for privacy or other legal issues relating to these external sites.

This privacy policy, and the ways in which personal data may be gathered and processed via this website, are subject to review and development and any such changes will only be notified by this page.

This policy was last reviewed on 04 June 2021.

Data collection

It is standard practice for web servers to collect data automatically about all requests for files (web pages, images, etc).  As we are processing Data gathered by University of Essex Library Services web server include:

What data is collected?

  • Your IP address
  • Details about your web browser
  • Details about the files requested
  • Date and time of requests for each file requested,
  • The referring page, if any, from which you may have followed a hyperlink
  • Search terms and search results
  • The domain from which your request originated
  • Your username, if you have authenticated with the webserver

In addition to data collected automatically by the webservers, some of our pages request additional information; for instance, we have forms for requesting of library materials, also we have forms for event, appointment and space booking and these ask for contact and other details. Where this happens the data is used only for the specific purpose of the form and is deleted after 90 days months exceptions to this include:

  • Copyright legislation requires us to keep requests for loans from the British Library, or other libraries, for 7 years.
  • Purchase suggestions are kept for as long as necessary to fulfil the requested purchase.
  • Your library record and associated data is kept whilst you are registered student, member of staff or continue as an alumni member of the library.

Additional data for specialist applications

Specialist applications, including Talis Aspire, Library search tools, such as Library Search (EBSCO Discovery Service), the Classic catalogue and The Forum library catalogue, gather user data specific to their intended purpose. Data gathered by these applications includes user identifiers, tracking information, user contributions (e.g. reading intentions on Talis Aspire, saved searches & reading history on the Library search tools).


We use cookies to personalise content for you.

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to.

What we use personalisation for:

  • Personalise the content you see on the website so that it is more relevant to you based on your profile or interests
  • Display our website in a tailored way, for example, show you course or subject specific content we think you might like
  • Enable you to share our content with others using social media or email
  • Communicate (and personalise such communication) with you through our newsletters, (but only those you have consented to receive)
  • Improve the design and style of the website
  • Inform you about courses, services or promotional offers that you might find interesting if you have chosen to receive that type of communication
  • Interface personalisation, such as language, or any user-interface customisation (i.e. parameters attached to your device including your screen resolution or font preference), etc

We use functional cookies to enable the website to provide enhanced functionality and personalisation. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

What personal data do we collect from you?

Data related to your use of our website, including:

  • Where you came from
  • Login details
  • Pages you looked at
  • Duration of your visit

 Technical information:

  • Your IP address
  • Browser information
  • Device information
  • Your unique ID which is given to each visitor, and the expiration date of the ID

What about cookies?

Cookies are small text files stored on your computer. They relate to a specific site, and can be used to enhance that site's functionality and your interaction with it; they may also be used for usage tracking, research, targeting, etc.

You can control the use of cookies on your computer by adjusting your web browser preferences, choosing to allow them, block them, only allow them from selected sites or only allow certain types of cookies. Restricting cookies for a site may interfere with some of the functionality of that site, though.

For more information about cookies please see

Google Analytics

We use a third-party product, 'Google Analytics', to help us understand how our site is used. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to different parts of the website. This is to help us make continuous improvements of the website performance.

For this to work, cookies are used and information about your use of our site, including your IP address, may be transmitted to, and stored by, Google. This information is subject to Google's Privacy Policy. As with other cookies, you can control the use of cookies on your computer by adjusting your web browser preferences. Google also provide a browser plug-in which allows you to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites.

If you visit our pages, your data will be recorded by Google Analytics and used for reporting. If you do not visit the website again within the next 26 months, your data will be deleted.

If you visit our pages via a proxy server, some of the logged data will be obscured; for instance, the IP address collected will be that of the proxy server rather than that of your computer.

Live chat

We use live chat software on our website, this is provided by SpringShare, a 3rd party U.S. Find more information regarding how the data is processed and stored can be viewed.

What we do with the data

Data relating to web server requests are used for completion of the current activity (e.g. a request to view a web page), and are subsequently stored in log files, which are later processed to provide statistical information about usage, load on servers, traffic patterns, troubleshooting, incident investigation, etc.

These data are also recorded by Google Analytics which is used by the University to report on web traffic on its sites. Analysis of web usage may be used for: systems and performance monitoring; research; marketing (e.g. analysis of demographic information and user behaviour). Information gathered by specialist applications such as e-learning tools and portals will be used to support the function and management of those applications. Information gathered will not be used to contact users, except where consent has been explicitly given or where security incidents are under investigation.

Do we share the data?

Personal data will not be passed on to third parties and will remain confidential, unless explicitly stated (e.g. if a web form is gathering data to be passed on to an external partner). The four exceptions to this are:

  • Log files and other data may be analysed by the University's external support providers when investigating faults and other technical issues relating to webserver performance.
  • Many University of Essex web pages include tracking code which allows Google Analytics to record usage and traffic information. These data are held on Google servers, are used for reporting and analysis by the University and a limited number of external consultants; they are not shared with any other parties. They are not used to identify individuals.
  • Data may be passed to the police and other authorities where it is required in the investigation of illegal activities and security breaches.

Where data is passed to third parties, it is done so in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Anonymised usage data may be provided in publicly-available web statistics; any such data cannot be traced to individual users.

Data Protection Act

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, any individuals about whom the University may be holding personal data have the right to access the data that is being held about them. Full details about how this works, and how to request such information are available on the Records Management web pages under How to access your personal data.

You always have the choice to experience our sites without personalised advertising based on your web browsing activity. Your privacy is important to us.

Get in touch

Data Protection Officer For any enquiries relating to Data Protection or our privacy policy please email us.