Privacy and cookies

Contents of this article

Cookies and EU regulations

Cookies are small text files used by a website to 'request' information from your website or mobile device browser, return the information to the website and then store the information. Cookies can be requested by any website and are placed on your device’s hard drive. Cookies allow the web application to tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

To find out more about cookies, including how to control and delete them, visit For beginners, visit BBC Webwise.

Cookies that are set by British History Online

Cookie type Cookie name Purpose
Content Management
System cookies

has_js, SESS<hash-id>, DRUPAL_UID

These cookies are set and used by our content management systems when you visit and/or login to BHO. It is not used by the IHR for any other purpose. We use Drupal 7 CMS ( has_js cookies indicates your browser is javascript enabled. SESS<hash-id> is the CMS session cookie and DRUPAL_UID is the user id when you are logged in set by the Boost caching system.
Login management ip_login_as_different_user This cookie stores a flag indicating you have logged out of BHO, and prevents auto-re-login (if you are eligible via an Institutional subscription for IP address or Shibboleth sessions).
EU Cookie message cookie-agreed This cookie stores your preference to hide the cookie information message.
Google Analytics _ga, _gat These cookies are set by the Google Ananlytics Universal Analytics script, which we use for site usage metrics. We also use Google Custom Dimensions and Metrics to track types of user accounts and institutional account usage (for COUNTER stats reporting purposes). You can block this using the Do Not Track settings in your browser. 
Shibboleth _shibsession_<hash-id> If you access BHO Premium content via the UK Access Management Federation, shibboleth session cookies are used.

Cookies that are set by third parties

During your visit you may notice some cookies that are not related to the British History Online domain name. This happens when you visit a page with embedded content from a third party (for example live Twitter widgets, YouTube videos or web advertisements). These third party websites might place cookies on your computer when you visit this site. If you are worried about this we encourage you to check the third party websites' privacy policies for more information about their cookies. We have endeavoured to provide links to these policies where possible.

Cookie type Cookie name Purpose



We use Google Adsense advertising to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information about your visits to this and other websites in order to optimise the provision of advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. BHO subscribers do not see advertisements.
Shibboleth JSESSIONID, _idp_session, _saml_idp If you access BHO Premium content via a Shibboleth Identity Provider, your IdP will use cookies which manage your session.

You can find out more about cookies, including a list of browser extensions which will automatically control and monitor them, on the Institute of Historical Research's privacy policy.

The Data Protection Act

Under the Data Protection Act, we have a legal duty to protect any information we collect from you. We keep strict security standards to prevent any unauthorised access to it. Subject to the terms of the Act, we shall not pass on your details to any third party or government department unless you give us permission to do so.

The Information we collect

We collect three kinds of information from visitors to this site: registration information, site usage data and feedback (through the Contact Us form).

Registration information

You do not have to register to use British History Online. Registration, however, does help us develop a clearer understanding of our users' preferences. The registration information we collect is:

  • username
  • password
  • email address

In addition, you may also choose to leave some extra information about yourself, including:

  • first name
  • last name
  • institution
  • email preferences

This information is stored such that you do not need to re-register when you come back to the site. This information is regularly backed up to avoid loss of data. We do not pass this information on to any third party.

Site usage data: Log files and Google Analytics

Log files allow us to record visitors' use of the site. We analyse log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make changes to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information and they are not used to identify any personally identifiable patterns of use of the site. We used Google Analytics to additionally record site usage patterns. See Cookies and EU regulations for more info.

Access to your information and contacting us

You can change your registration information at any time. To do this, you should sign in and edit your account.

If you wish to see our records of any correspondence you have sent to us, or if you have a query or complaint about this privacy policy or about the site, you can contact us by completing our feedback form.

External links

British History Online contains links to other websites, including commercial organisations. This privacy policy applies only to our site, so you should always be aware when you are moving to another site and read the privacy statement of any site which collects personal information.

We do not pass on any personal information you have given us to any other site.

Changes to this privacy policy

If this privacy policy changes in any way, we will place an updated version on this page. Regularly reviewing this page ensures you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances, if any, we will share it with other parties.


Policy last updated:

  • 2014-12-05 – Policy text copied from BHO version 4.x and updated for BHO version 5.x
  • 2015-08-17 – Added EU Cookie pop-up message and 'cookie-agreed' cookie information to the table.