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"Using Lessons from Health Care to Protect the Privacy of Library Users: Guidelines for the De-Identification of Library Data based on HIPAA"

Scott Nicholson and Catherine Arnott Smith

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


While libraries have employed policies to protect the data about use of their services, these policies are rarely specific or standardized. Since 1996 the U.S. healthcare system has been grappling with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which is designed to provide those handling personal health information with standardized, definitive instructions as to the protection of data. In this work, the authors briefly discuss the present situation of privacy policies about library use data, outline the HIPAA guidelines to understand parallels between the two, and finally propose methods to create a de-identified library data warehouse based on HIPAA for the protection of user privacy.

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