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OCLC's Cookie Policy

Cookies and tracking technologies

When OCLC speaks about cookies on our websites or services, we may mean cookies and web beacons.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a text file containing a small amount of data which is downloaded to your computer when you visit one of our websites or see one of our adverts elsewhere on the internet. The vast majority of websites use cookies and tracking technologies. Cookies are useful because they help OCLC arrange the content and layout of our websites and recognize those computers that have been to our websites before. They allow us to remember users’ preference settings and play an important role in helping OCLC enhance the usability and performance of our websites and services, as well as your experience using them. Some cookies are also essential to enable you to move around our website and use its features. They also help us to identify which of our articles are the most popular and the types of journey visitors have to our websites.

What is a Flash cookie?

This is a type of cookie which is collected via Adobe Flash media player – a piece of software which you probably have on your computer to help you watch online videos and listen to podcasts.

What is a web beacon?

Web beacons are usually tiny transparent images that help websites track the activity of users on certain web pages. They can also send the website owner information in cookies such as whether an email with a web beacon in it has been opened. We use web beacons together with cookies to help us understand how a site user interacts with our websites and the emails OCLC may send; to help us improve your browsing experience; to ensure that content is relevant to you; and to better manage our website and email content.

Below is a short description of generally recognized categories of cookies, though you should note that OCLC does NOT use all four (4) of the categories.

1. Essential Cookies

  • Description: These cookies are essential for the running of our websites. Without the use of these cookies parts of our websites or services would not function.
  • OCLC’s Use of Essential Cookies is documented in the OCLC Cookie List.

2. Analytical Performance Cookies

  • Description: These types of cookies are used to monitor a website’s performance and how users may use it. These cookies provide information that helps the site owner provide better products to their users and also to identify any areas that may need maintenance.
  • OCLC’s Use of Performance Cookies is documented in the OCLC Cookie List.

3. Functional Cookies

  • Description: Functional cookies are used to remember your preferences on our websites. This can be anything from remembering your city in a weather forecast or saving your username.
  • OCLC’s Use of Functional cookies is documented in the OCLC Cookie List.

4. Behavioral Advertising Cookies

  • Description: Use of cookies for online behavioral advertising is a way of providing advertisements on the websites you visit and making them more relevant to your interests. This is done by grouping together shared interests based upon previous web browsing activity. Advertising is then displayed to you when you visit a website which matches these interests. Behavioral advertising is based upon your web browsing activity over a period of time - so it's different to advertising you may see when you're looking for something online using a search engine (e.g. Google) or on the website you may be visiting at a particular time.
  • OCLC does not use Behavioral Advertising Cookies

We may also track IP addresses. An IP Address is a number that can identify an Internet Service Provider and country location. It cannot provide other personal information.

OCLC maintains a list of the cookies we use on our main sites and services, which may be found here.  The list also contains a short description of the cookie and the period of time the cookie will remain on your device if you take no actions to block or remove the cookie.  OCLC operates dozens of Web sites and services and we will continually work to keep this document up to date with accurate information.

How to control the use of cookies

You are not obliged to accept cookies and may modify your browser so that it will not accept cookies. The browser you use to surf the web not only allows you to see the cookies that you have got but also allows you to control their use.

You can control them by allowing them, deleting them individually or deleting all of them. You can also set your browser to not accept cookies altogether. If this option is selected, you should be aware that many websites and online services will not function properly or at all. It may be possible to set your browser to not accept cookies and ask for your consent before each cookie is set on your device. This gives you control over what is set on your device, however has the drawback of slowing down your browsing experience.

There are different levels of control too. You are able to prevent just third party cookies being deployed, effectively opting out of behavioral advertising, and some even allow you to block specific companies you do not wish to deploy a cookie, instead of selecting all companies.

In order to manage your cookies, please select your browser from the list below and follow the instructions:

Mobile devices:

Useful information about Cookies

Further information about cookies can be found on the following websites:

All About Cookies
Your Online Choices
Information Commissioners Office
Direct Marketing Association
Microsoft Cookies Guide

If you have any questions about the use of cookies on our websites, please email: privacy@oclc.org