Author : Kristin A Briney
Data handling in library learning analytics plays a pivotal role in protecting patron privacy, yet the landscape of data management by librarians is poorly understood.
This critical review examines data-handling practices from 54 learning analytics studies in academic libraries and compares them against the NISO Consensus Principles on User’s Digital Privacy in Library, Publisher, and Software-Provider Systems and data management best practices.
A number of the published research projects demonstrate inadequate data protection practices including incomplete anonymization, prolonged data retention, collection of a broad scope of sensitive information, lack of informed consent, and sharing of patron-identified information.
As with researchers more generally, libraries should improve their data management practices. No studies aligned with the NISO Principles in all evaluated areas, but several studies provide specific exemplars of good practice.
Libraries can better protect patron privacy by improving data management practices in learning analytics research.