Home > Articles

Personalization Personified

The MyInformIT page displays a nicely arranged collection of books, articles, and such that you apparently found interesting at some point in your InformIT travels. The Kaptain explains just how that info gets there.

Man, oh man, I hate Mondays! It should be a mandatory practice that the Monday workday start no earlier than noon. For that matter, Fridays should end at noon too. I think that there would be a noticeable increase in productivity during the rest of the week that would offset any loss of time on the clock. Are you with me? What do you do on a Monday from the time that you arrive at work until lunchtime? I drink several cups of coffee and catch up with everyone else about how their weekends went. It isn't that I don't like chatting with my fellow code monkeys, but I could easily be spending that time sleeping. It would sure improve my mood, if nothing else.

Maybe I just take the developer stereotype—lack of sleep, too much caffeine, bizarre outbursts—a little too far. I suppose that I could try to get to sleep before 1:00 a.m. on Sunday night, but then I wouldn't be squeezing every last drop out of my weekend. If I had a buffer zone on Friday afternoon and Monday morning, maybe I wouldn't feel the need to wring every quality moment out of my free time late at night. A sleep schedule like mine only succeeds for so long, unless one is a vampire. Come to think of it, I am a little pale...

Anyway, there's an extra incentive to do nothing on Mondays here at InformIT. Akin to an enclave of the gods gathering in Asgard, Mondays herald the congregation of InformIT managers in a conference room known, inexplicably, as Le Cave. This portentous meeting is known as management council or just MC. It's basically a forum for the president of InformIT to publicly immolate his management staff for a healthy three or four hours. In the process, they also try to set priorities for the rest of us in Midgard that will determine our fates in the coming weeks.

For those unfortunate lesser godlings known as directors, this is a hectic and painful time. They have reports to present and explanations to put forth as to why InformIT's page views aren't what they should be. For us mere mortals, it's a time to sit and reflect. Any work we accomplish Monday will be for naught. Our priorities inevitably change as a result of MC, and anything we have toiled over that morning gets tossed in the circular file. I guess it's just the fate of lesser beings to puzzle at the capricious whims that drive our lives.

Storing the MyInformIT Data

It's also a good reason to give you, the users, something to feel better about. That brings us back to the MyInformIT page. When last we met, I discussed how the process of adding content to the MyInformIT storehouse works. This week, let's take a look at how the MyInformIT data is stored in the database, and how we bring you that which you see in your "My Saved Content" list. Figure 1 shows an example of my MyInformIT page.

Figure 1 My oh MyInformIT.

With that in your mind's eye, let's look at a simplified database diagram of the user table structure that allows us to link your login with the content that you've saved. For clarity, Figure 2 pares it down to just the relevant tables and fields.

Figure 2 Session/user/linked products table structure.

It doesn't get any simpler than this. The users table stores your unique email address and the username that you have selected. The primary key for this table is a uniqueidentifier, the user_id. On the right, we have the linked_products table. This associates your user_id with a product_id and element_id. If you'll recall, the product_id uniquely defines a book or article, and the element_id identifies a given page of an article. The user_id, here a foreign key, forms a primary key with link_id, another uniqueidentifier assigned to each link.

We figure out who you are by checking your session_id. Because we're running our site in a multi-server, load-balanced environment, we decided to eschew the built-in ASP Session object and write our own. Ours works essentially the same as Session, allowing the storage of select variables for a user session on the server. If your session hasn't timed out, and you're a registered user, we can tie your session_id to your user_id. If your session has timed out, you log back in, get a new session_id, and we can still grok your user_id.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020