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Registration and patron confidentiality (Incyte Proteome Bioknowledge Library)

Dear Liblicense,

Several weeks ago there was some interest on the legality of required
registration vis a vis patron confidentiality.  Cornell University, along
with several other large research libraries have not made any headway in
negotiating with the company, IncyteGenomics, to remove their patron
registration requirement for their subscription database.  Below is a
short summation of this issue.  I will not speak for other libraries, but
only for Cornell.  Other libraries who are concerned about this issue are
encouraged to post their own concerns and contact the company directly.


Proteome Bioknowledge Library was a free web database provided by
IncyteGenomics.  In June 2002, the company changed its financial model and
restricted access to paying subscribers.  An institutional license was
made available at this time.  Institutional restriction to this resource
is managed by IP address; however, there is a required registration
process that must be filled out by all individuals before they can gain
access to this resource.  This is NOT stated in the license.  This
registration requires all potential users to divulge personal information
about themselves and the right to be tracked.  The first page of this
registration can be found at:  
Please note that this is the first of a two page registration process.

The Issue

Patron confidentiality is a cornerstone of the ALA (see below ALA
statement III), and is also protected by New York State Law. While the
company regards their right to collect data for marketing purposes, we
counter that this is something that the library (by signing this license)
cannot endorse (see ALA statement VI). By signing a license with Incyte,
the library agrees to limit online access to registered students, faculty
and staff of Cornell University.  A robust security system at Cornell and
the registration of valid IP address ranges enforces this agreement.  
While the company claims that they need to maintain their own security,
there is no security reason for individual registration.

When would registration be acceptable?

Our position is that registration would be acceptable IF registration
allowed the patron to derive additional services (i.e. customization of
the product), BUT ONLY if this registration is voluntary, AND ONLY
requires the patron to identify his or herself in a minimal way (like a
username).  The full contend of the database must be available to ALL
patrons whether or not they decide to register.

Cornell's Position

Until Incyte removes the required registration and tracking system,
Cornell -- as an institution -- can no longer proceed with negotiations
for this product.  Individual members in our community are free to
subscribe to this database on a lab by lab basis if they find the license
and registration details to be acceptable.

Recommendations for other Institutions

If you have not come across this issue of required registration in your
negotiations with Incyte, I encourage you to make this an issue, since you
will not find a clause in the license.  Review your library policies
regarding patron confidentiality, your state laws (if applicable), and
ALA's Code of Ethics


III.  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.

VI.  We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users,
colleagues, or our employing institutions.

Philip Davis, Life Sciences Bibliographer
Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-7192 ;  (607) 255-0318 fax