Data Privacy and Information Literacy Assessment

Data Privacy and Information Literacy Assessment

Against the Grain
Pub Date
Apr 1, 2020
Russell Michalak MLIS
Monica D.T. Rysavy Ph.D. Ed.D.
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Collecting Personal Identifiable Information (PII), in the context of services and programs academic libraries offer is a topic that continues to be of interest to the library and greater academic community.  Patron data, specifically those data points associated with use of services, programs, systems, and library instructional / training efforts has the potential to show academic libraries’ value as these data points can assist with illustrating “student success in the form of outcomes attainment, retention to completion or graduation, and post-graduation career placement and earnings” (Oakleaf, Whyte, Lynema, & Brown, 2017).
However, there has been a backlash among librarians regarding using PII in academic libraries due to privacy concerns (Jones and Salo, 2018).  In this article, we share how PII is collected in our current information literacy assessment (ILA) program, how this data is used, and who the data is shared with.  This article also shares the benefits of academic libraries establishing partnerships with other academic departments such as our long-standing relationship with the office of institutional research & training (OIRT).