Image courtesy of the University of Kent
What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files stored on your computer or mobile device as you browse web pages on the internet. They allow websites to remember things about you when you move through a website and if you return at a later date. A cookie is set by a particular website, and only that website will be able to retrieve or read the contents of that cookie – which will be sent by your computer on your return.
For example, if you log into a website, a cookie might store the information that you have logged in so it doesn’t ask you on every page to log in again. A cookie might store preferences you have set on a website or tell the website you are someone who has visited the site before. In addition, a cookie might be set to see how visitors use the site so the site’s administrators can notice changes in user behaviour and change content appropriately.
If you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by websites, you can do this through your browser settings. The Help function within your browser should tell you how.
Alternatively, you may wish to visit All About Cookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your computer as well as more general information about cookies. For instructions on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone, you will need to refer to your handset manual.
How are cookies used at HEAT?
The HEAT Service sets the following cookies on most pages of the website, all of which are designed to: provide a better experience when using the site; allow us to see how users interact with our web pages; and help us to improve the website in the light of this information. They are set automatically as you move throughout our site.
HEAT members are requested to log in or sign up in order to use the Members’ Area of the website as well as both Live and Demo databases. In most cases when a visitor enters their username and password, a cookie may be set identifying them as a logged-in user. This cookie is removed either when they log out, or when they have not visited the site for some time and therefore their login expires.
Although this cookie will identify the user as a specific person on the system, the HEAT Service does not pass any information to market research companies, advertisers or other third parties.
When accessing the Members’ Area of the HEAT website, a cookie is required to track your login session. Without this cookie, you will not be able to use any of the pages within the Members’ Area of the website.
Google Analytics collects information such as: pages you visit on this site; the browser and operating system you use; and time spent viewing pages. It allows us to recognise the areas of the website that visitors are engaging with and how they are navigating around the site – as well as limited anonymous data about the audience visiting the site, including demographic and interest information. This allows us to make decisions about how to construct and structure the content of the website – allowing visitors to find what they are looking for more easily.
For a full overview of the cookies created and used by Google Analytics, please see the company’s guide: Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites. Many websites use Google Analytics to collect traffic data and Google itself has produced a Google browser plug-in, which allows you to disable the collecting of information for all the websites you visit.