SEALS - South East Academic Libraries System
Privacy Statement

South East Academic Libraries System Trust: Privacy Statement 

The South East Academic Libraries System (SEALS) Trust became a formal academic library consortium in 1999, with the vision to create a virtual library for the Eastern Cape to promote information and resource discovery.

SEALS Member Libraries:

Nelson Mandela University Library and Information Services

Rhodes University Library

University of Fort Hare Library

Walter Sisulu University 


Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. The South East Academic Libraries System (SEALS) Trust is committed to protecting your privacy and confidentiality when you use services we provide. This Privacy Policy explains how the SEALS library systems handles personally identifiable information (PII) and why we collect data from you.

We’re committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all patron data in compliance with the relevant South African laws, university policy, and professional standards. Please also read each SEALS Member institution Privacy Statements:

Nelson Mandela University (

Rhodes University (

University of Fort Hare (

Walter Sisulu University (

By using the SEALS website, attending our events, participating in our programs, downloading our mobile applications, accessing SEALS Libraries databases, visiting a SEALS Library location, or donating to us, you agree to this policy.

This Privacy Policy may change from time to time, and we will notify you by posting such changes on our website, so we encourage you to check back periodically for updates. We will alert you to material changes that have been made by indicating on the policy the date it was last updated, by placing a notice on our website, by sending you an email, and/or by some other means.

What kinds of information do the SEALS Libraries collect?

SEALS Libraries try to minimize the amount of personal information necessary to use library services. Many library services can be accessed without personal information being collected.

When you use the Library discovery platforms, the SEALS server collects technical information from your web browser. In some cases, the SEALS web server may use browser cookies or other technologies to maintain sessions and preference information.

The SEALS Libraries maintain personally identifiable information in library users' online accounts. The SEALS Libraries maintain the confidentiality of information in your library account, including usage records of physical and electronic materials, database searches, InterLibrary Requests, and data associated with individual institutions. This information is used to maintain your library account and to provide improved services to you. We do not make this information available to any other entity outside the SEALS Libraries, except as required by law or appropriate law enforcement procedures.

The SEALS Libraries collect and store personal information that you submit via the Libraries' web-based management tools, such as forms related to asking reference questions or booking reservable study rooms. We also interact with our library users regularly and receive personal information via email messages, chat sessions, web forms, and other communications. If you submit personal information via one of these platforms, the libraries use your personal information for the purpose for which you submitted it, and occasionally to invite you to provide optional feedback on your experience with library services.

In order for library resource discovery to function the way it was intended; we collect the following information obtained from your home organisation via a federated login process:

Given name(s)

Surname or family name

Email address

Your affiliation to your organisation (e.g., student or staff)

Your home organisation’s personal identifier (username) for you

A SEALS Library may analyse any of these data to perform technical troubleshooting or better understand trends in usage and improve our collections and services. The SEALS office will never share any PII with a third party, all requests for such information will be forwarded to the Member Library in question.

E-resources and External Websites

Access to third-party databases and electronic materials is provided through SEALS single sign-on system. Library websites may also link to external websites not operated by SEALS Libraries. SEALS Libraries will not share personal identifiable information with external parties, but users should be aware that these resources may have their own privacy policies governing the use of their services. Users should take care to understand those policies before providing personal information or linking to Google or other personal accounts.

Users connecting to Library resources from off-campus or via the wireless network are asked to authenticate with a single sign-on username and password or via WAM authentication. SEALS library contracts and license agreements generally require third-party services to maintain the same level of privacy and security over your information as the Libraries do.

SEALS Library websites may contain links to external resources operated by non-SEALS entities. These external sites may have their own privacy policy or may have none. We urge you to use caution when providing personal information to any of these websites.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 1 Mar 2023)

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SEALS Trust: IT 556/2007 | Manual in terms of section 51 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000