Help! Ebsco + Google Drive

Hi all! One of my coworkers noticed a twitter convo about Ebsco’s integration of Google Drive and the great privacy concerns that come with this. Right now, our Ebsco databases show the Drive icon (essentially inviting students to connect). We really want to disable this icon, but Google Suite is the productivity product offered to our students (faculty/staff use microsoft). Would love to know your ideas for framing the argument to disable. Here is a screenshot of what users are agreeing to when they connect their Ebsco search results to Drive:

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These vendors think they can get away with everything. That’s a helluva lot of rights that Ebsco wants. My argument would be that it abuses what third parties can do with that data, especially upload/download and share/not share. And the last line about how you may have sensitive information that Ebsco now has access to is terrifying, I don’t trust any third party vendor to work in good faith so I would frame it so:

“Ebsco is attempting to profit off of students work by taking and disseminating their information. They also want access to the entire drive which could contain very sensitive materials like tax information or medical records. I do not believe Ebsco must follow HIPPA so it doubles down on the danger of how they plan to use that information. Selling it could lead to serious ramifications down the line for students who agree to this policy.”

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I would ask “What is the benefit of this?/What service is this providing?” Since the answer will probably be something like “The users can save full text files directly to their drive.” Then you could ask “And how are the users paying for this service of direct file saving?” Then maybe they’ll recognize that it’s payment with targeted advertisement based on the content of the users “drive.” Then you could use TJ’s HIPPA argument and maybe frame it as a liability for your institution.

absolutely. this is a good reminder that students should be able to chose what goes in their Drive - which is completely different than giving full access to a 3rd party.

i’ve always told students not to connect their accounts with ebsco because I assumed the data collection would be to an necessary extent but I never checked to see what those details actually were. this agreement is truly wild. thanks for the wording!!

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Thank you so much for sharing this, @SymphonyBruce! I had seen that icon before but never really investigated it before. This also prompted me to look at our other databases. Gale Cengage and Proquest also link to Google Drive, with a slightly different set of permissions from Ebsco. “This will allow Gale Cengage/Proquest to: View and manage Google Drive files and folders that you have opened or created with this app.”

The community college where I work has a fairly limited database list, so of the others I checked, only Lexis-Nexis also links to Google Drive, but it was disabled in my instance.

Thanks again (and sorry to jump in out of nowhere after creeping on your cohort 2 discussion).

Claire you are most welcome here!


Hi!! Thank you for sharing what Gale/Cengage/Proquest shows for permissions. It is amazing how different they are. It seems the “…with this app” statement on the end of each permission means the data sharing is much more limited but who knows?

You’re my favorite creep, @clobdell!


So while most of my department is in favor of disabling the function, one of my coworkers doesn’t think we should because we are then making the decision about one’s privacy for them. Because Ebsco clearly(ish) describes the access that is being agreed to, my coworker says that folks are making an informed choice to allow the vendor to invade their privacy. How might you handle this sort of free will argument? Note: I am at a university - we can assume some degree of digital literacy from our patrons.

can you test out this theory? find 10-15 students or faculty, show them this resource, and ask if they feel like it’s clear what they’re agreeing to and whether they’re cool with it? cause I have a feeling they will not be and then you can show the results to your coworker.