Getting a list of users at my institution

Our librarians are discussing the usage of the different citation managers at our institution and what we are still willing to support with training, etc. Is there any way that we could get a list of users who have registered with a address?
  • @Dan, Sean -- as you know this isn't the first time this comes up from various libraries and it's one of the questions I get asked with high regularity during trainings with librarians. It'd be great to get a general answer to this. Obviously the numbers aren't going to be perfect since they don't capture folks with other e-mails and do capture alumni, but still...
  • edited November 18, 2015
    The question was about a list of users not the number of users. A list should never be available.

    There are a few considerations to weigh. Even the number of users at a particular instition could have privacy implications. At SafetyLit, we regularly received requests from university librarians wanting to know how many visitors came from within a particular IP range (that of their university). We set up a script to process the server logs and provide that info automatically every 3 months. A couple of years ago several European universities asked that we cease sending that data because EU privacy regulations made this a questionable practice. Although there were no legal concerns for non-EU nations, we stopped doing this altogether. When we stopped providing usage data, many universities dropped SafetyLit from their literature database listings. I do not quite understand why there was that connection. (edit Maybe they wanted to compare the number of click-throughs from their list with the number of direct visitors.) It would be trivial for the university to track clicks on the links to databases on their lists. I think we will return to sending the data where it is OK to do so.

    In summary, we must balance our own interests in usage and visibility with others' concerns over user privacy -- both what is legal and what is ethical. The current SafetyLit privacy statement ( ) partially covers this information-sharing and I will see to it that the statement is expanded to include institutions.
  • right, yes, I was assuming number of users (which is all you need for usage stats and what other folks have been asking for), not a list. A list is obviously not going to happen.

    I think sending the number of users is in line with Zotero's privacy rules to which you agree when signing up (which makes it different from sending server logs, since you presumably didn't have users consent to their IPs being logged and processed).
  • I don't send server logs only usage numbers from summaries of log analyses -- we certainly do not share actual IP addresses. I just now read the full full Zotero privacy policy and agree that it is clear and fair. It is a model for honesty.
  • It would be great to be able to track number of users (which is all you need for usage stats and what other folks have been asking for), while preserving user privacy and anonymity.
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