NNLM Privacy and Security Policy

The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) complies with requirements for privacy and security established by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This page outlines out privacy and security policies as they apply to our sites as well as third-party sites and applications that NNLM uses (for example, Facebook, YouTube).

Your Visit to NNLM Websites

Your visit to NNLM websites is private and secure. When you visit NNLM websites, we do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you, unless you choose to explicitly provide it to us. However, we do collect some data about your visit to our website to help us better understand and improve its usefulness to our audience. The rest of this page describes the information that is automatically collected and stored. NNLM never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose not related to NNLM’s mission.

What Type of Information NNLM Collects

When you visit any website, certain information about your visit can be collected. NNLM automatically collects and stores the following type of information about your visit:

  • The name of the domain you use to access the internet (for example, verizon.com, if you are using a Verizon online account, or standford.edu, if you are connecting from Stanford University’s domain)
  • The date and time of your visit to our website
  • The pages and documents you viewed on our website from an external search engine such as Bing or Google
  • The URL of the website you visited prior to ours
  • The words you searched for on our website
  • The type and version of your web browser and operating system, and
  • Your location at the time of your visit, down to the city level

This information is used to measure the number of visitors to the various sections of our site and improve organization, coverage, system performance or other problem areas. This information is not used for associating search terms or patterns of site navigation with individual users. When search features offer suggested terms, these suggestions are based on aggregated data only. On occasion, NNLM may provide aggregated information to third party entities it contracts with, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) or National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the purposes of research analysis. Aggregated data cannot be linked back to an individual user.

How NNLM Uses Cookies

When you visit any web site, it may place a small text file, known as a "cookie," on your computer. The cookie allows the website to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected or when you return to that site. The NLM Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of web pages. Cookies from NNLM web pages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site; they do not collect personal information about you. While visiting certain NNLM websites, you may occasionally encounter a web page that automatically employs cookies to make it easier to use the web page’s dynamic features.

NNLM websites may use either single session (temporary) or multi-session (persistent) cookies. Session cookies last only as long as your web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

  • Session Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1 – Single Session." This tier encompasses any use of single session web measurement and customization technologies.
  • Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enhance the web experience for our users. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to NNLM until they expire. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2 – Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." This tier encompasses any use of multi-session web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected.

For example, NNLM uses persistent cookies to avoid repeat submissions to web forms. NNLM may employ persistent cookies in other ways consistent with our mission and the OMB guidelines to analyze use patterns and improve our users' experience on NNLM websites.

How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them at any time from your web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources at NNLM, but you may not be able to use cookie-dependent features.

See USA.gov’s Web Measurement and Customization Opt-Out page for instructions on disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers.  Please note when you disable cookies from your web browser, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from NNLM.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NNLM website.

If you choose to send us personal information by email, by filling out a form on our web site, we use this information to respond to your message and to help us provide you with the information or material you requested.

If you choose to create an NNLM account, we use this information to analyze the reach of NNLM’s outreach activities through geographic representation and professional role. On occasion, we may request your evaluation of NNLM classes for which you have registered, or using the NNLM website. These studies help us to improve our websites and trainings, in order to make them more responsive to the needs of our users.

If you choose to become an NNLM Institutional Member, we use this information to better understand the need for health information services and support in different types of organizations, as it relates to the mission of NNLM. On occasion, we may conduct a study concerning your experience with NNLM resources and services in support of the health information outreach needs of your institution. These studies help us to improve our websites and services in order to make them more responsive to the needs of our users.


NNLM does not give, share, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors, unless required by law enforcement or statute.

For further information, please review the NLM Privacy and Security Policy.

Links from NNLM to Other Websites

Some NNLM websites provide links to other internet sites that provide health information, trainings, programs and tools. Once you leave the NNLM websites, you are subject to the privacy policy of the new site.

Visiting an Official NNLM Page on Third-Party Websites

NNLM maintains accounts on third-party websites, such as social media sites, as tools to better interact with the public. The security and privacy policies of third-party websites apply to your activity on those sites. Users of third-party websites often share information with the general public, user community, and/or the third-party operating the website. You should review the privacy policies of all websites before using them and ensure that you understand how your information may be used. You should also adjust privacy settings of your account for any third-party website to match your preferences.

See the list of NNLM’s social media accounts on the Connect with the Network of the National Library of Medicine page.

NNLM Accounts

Common third-party website privacy policies used by NNLM include:

How NNLM Collects and Uses Information from Third-Party Websites

If you have an account/profile with a third-party website, and choose to follow, like, friend, or comment on a third-party website managed by NNLM, certain personal information associated with your account may be made available to us based on the privacy policies of the third-party website and your privacy settings within that website. We do not share personally identifiable information made available through these websites.

Google Analytics

When you browse through the NNLM websites, we use Google Analytics software to gather and temporarily store a variety of information about your visit. However, this information cannot be used to identify you as an individual.

We do not associate any of the data we collect with you as an individual. Instead, we aggregate this data from all visits in order to improve our website and provide a better user experience to our visitors. The aggregate data is available only to NNLM web managers and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. You can review the Google Analytics Privacy Policy for more information.

Survey Tools

NNLM uses surveys to collect opinions and feedback, to understand our visitors’ satisfaction with the NNLM website, trainings, products and services. These surveys do not collect PII and participation is voluntary. If you decline a survey, you will still have access to the identical information and resources on the NNLM website as those who take the survey. Answers to surveys help NNLM improve its websites, trainings, products and services to make them easier to use and more responsive to the needs of our visitors. You may refer to the privacy policies of the products we use for additional information:

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