For the past several months, the uWeb Steering Committee has been working on something important to all of us in the University Web community: the use of Google Analytics at UVA.
Access to metrics is essential for well-informed decision-making, and we all know that Google Analytics (GA) is the industry standard for metrics in our line of work. Its data helps us facilitate the exceptional online presence expected of a top-tier University.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Yet we’re not “supposed” to use Google Analytics at UVA. While we don’t think this “policy” has ever been formally posted anywhere (please let us know in the comments if you know otherwise), it’s been communicated by word-of-mouth many times in the past few years.
Concerns raised about GA center around privacy and contract issues, but no viable alternative has ever been proposed. So most of us end up caught between doing our jobs well, and following the recommendations of UVA General Counsel & Procurement.
Many UVA webmasters and communicators feel reluctant to discuss GA publicly out of fear: of risking access to essential departmental data; for our own job security; or about being held personally liable in litigation. The result has been general confusion and an awkward “don’t ask, don’t tell” environment around GA at UVA.
Let’s Do Something About This
We have put together a document outlining this issue & offering 4 possible solutions. Though it’s long, please read it and consider signing to show your support. You may opt to:
- Make your backing visible only to the 6 members of the uWeb steering committee—we need numbers as a data point—or
- Allow us to share your signature & title publicly, as a sign of the wide-ranging grassroots support for this initiative across the entire University.
(The very fact that we’re offering both a public and private way to signal support is sort of emblematic of the problem right there, isn’t it?)
At any rate, read the document and then please sign below!
We believe this vitally important initiative dovetails with UVA’s new focus on organizational excellence and think the time is right to raise this issue. But YOU are the uWeb community; what do you think? Let us know below, and also please join us in a roundtable discussion on GA at the 11/20 UVA LSP Conference.
Thank you for your support.
–The 2014 uWeb Steering Committee