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Our marketing and communication office distributes a semi-monthly email with brief synopses of, and links to more complete, campus news items. They are interested in tracking which articles are read to help them tailor content, or even determine whether the impact of the newsletter justifies continuing to produce it. They want to use an external mailing service that will provide them information about whether messages are read, and which articles are opened. The service they want to use provides the data in a spreadsheet that produces aggregated graphs, but also contains personally identified information that potentially could be used to determine who opened what. Some members of the administration are greatly concerned about this possibility. And, of course, it's likely that if this effort is successful other organizations on campus will want to use this or similar mechanisms for other purposes. If you have policies or guidelines on the use of such tracking procedures I'd appreciate pointers to them. Thanks. Ron Danielson Vice Provost and CIO ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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Although at RPI we do not have a specific policy about this (although we do have broader policies on privacy which probably encompasses the question raised), let me answer somewhat obliquely, but (hopefully) relevantly. Our MorningMail system, produced in collaboration with our Communications office, which we presented at EDUCAUSE last month ( see http://www.educause.edu/E2011/Program/SESS066 and the "resources" tab for our presentation), addresses this issue in two ways: 1. It largely automates the process of producing a daily newsletter, marginalizing the question of "whether the impact of the newsletter justifies continuing to produce it". It just doesn't cost very much (time,people, money) for us to produce MorningMail each day. 2. MorningMail provides a synopsis of already e-published items (public events calendar, web sites, etc), and drives readers back to the originating site (via a link to where the item was harvested from). We could then, if we desired, determine the impact of MorningMail, a particular article, etc, by using standard tools to count web traffic. MorningMail does not track individual users, but I cannot imagine that our community would abide such a practice, irrespective of the official university policy. Gary Schwartz Director, Communication & Middleware Technologies RPI schwag@rpi.edu ________________________________________ From: Ronald Danielson [RDanielson@SCU.EDU] Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 10:08 PM Subject: Policies about tracking responses to university communications Our marketing and communication office distributes a semi-monthly email with brief synopses of, and links to more complete, campus news items. They are interested in tracking which articles are read to help them tailor content, or even determine whether the impact of the newsletter justifies continuing to produce it. They want to use an external mailing service that will provide them information about whether messages are read, and which articles are opened. The service they want to use provides the data in a spreadsheet that produces aggregated graphs, but also contains personally identified information that potentially could be used to determine who opened what. Some members of the administration are greatly concerned about this possibility. And, of course, it's likely that if this effort is successful other organizations on campus will want to use this or similar mechanisms for other purposes. If you have policies or guidelines on the use of such tracking procedures I'd appreciate pointers to them. Thanks. Ron Danielson Vice Provost and CIO ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
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