There is one thing you must know about librarians: we prize intellectual freedom and the privacy of the individual user. For example, the American Library Association's "Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries" states:
"The privacy of library users is and must be inviolable. Policies should be in place that maintain confidentiality of library borrowing records and of other information relating to personal use of library information and services."
In many US states, there are laws stating that library usage records can only be divulged in the case of user consent, subpoena, or court order. Librarians throughout American libraries have resisted the US Patriot Act, which infringes on the civil liberties of library users to access information free from the "watchful eye" of the government.
Given these values, imagine my surprise to read statements such as this one, made by George Siemens and Phil Long in their piece in EDUCAUSE Review, "Penetrating the Fog: Analytics in Learning and Education:" "Similarly, most analytics models do not capture or utilize physical-world data, such as library use, access to learning support, or academic advising." [Here, they weren't stating that it shouldn't be done, but that libraries presented a data stream that just has not been captured yet.]
Don't get me wrong...I am deeply interested in learning analytics from the viewpoint of an educator and learner and I think that it holds promise in reaching goals of degree completion and retention (if these are indeed the right goals). But can academic library usage data be used in learning analytics in an ethical manner that remains true to ideals deeply held by my profession? Or will the ideals of intellectual freedom and privacy be overcome by the college completion agenda? These questions I look forward to exploring in LAK12.