You're visiting a page on our classic site. We're updating things. Check out the new:
Privacy Statement

Harvard Library's Privacy Statement

The Harvard Library is committed to protecting the privacy of Harvard Libraries users. Our policies conform to the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association, which provides this summation of the library community's commitment to privacy: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."


The Harvard Library uses Google Analytics to gather statistics for portions of Library websites. The information gathered will be used to improve web services for patrons. Google Analytics uses a browser cookie for statistical analysis related to your browsing behavior on these websites. If you choose, you can opt out by turning off cookies in the preferences settings in your browser, or download and install Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on at For more information on Google Analytics, please visit


The Library may store personally identifiable information in conjunction with normal loan operations, personalization features of E-Research @ Harvard Libraries, or other services. Please note that the library may be obligated to release such information to federal law enforcement agents in response to a search warrant or subpoena issued in accordance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. 1861, as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56). That law prohibits library staff from informing you that such a request has been received.


Privacy of Electronic Resource Use

The Harvard Library is equally committed to protecting the privacy of the users of our electronic resources. While Harvard does gather data about system and resource usage for administrative purposes, the use of that information conforms to the precepts of confidentiality denoted in the Code of Ethics statement. Data  gathered about each Harvard Libraries session varies according to the method of connection to the resource. The resulting logs contain information necessary for analyzing the use of resources, troubleshooting problems and improving services. Log data is also used to distribute resource costs among Harvard libraries and faculties. These logs remain intact for approximately one fiscal year.

Our commitment to user privacy extends to our agreements with online content providers, including support for the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) Privacy Guidelines For Electronic Resources Vendors. When using the services of an external provider, the privacy policies of that provider will apply.