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What's a cookie?
A cookie is a small text file that a website may store on your computer as you browse the web.
Cookies are often used to "remember" information about how you have interacted with the website - for example, the things you've put in a shopping basket or if you're logged in.
Much of the web simply wouldn't work without cookies as you'd have to keep inputting the same information on every new page.
Why should I review my cookie settings?
This applies to any "non-essential" cookies and to any websites which are used by visitors from EU member countries (so in principle it does affect websites across the world).
So what's the problem with cookies?
The problem is that some cookies are used to "track" users, recording details of previous pages (or even previous sites) visited.
For example, analytics cookies are used to understand how users interact with a website, whilst advertising cookies can be used to target relevent adverts at users based what might interest them.
No, not really.
Analytics cookies help website owners to understand how their site is used and so can help to improve it: for example, if most users who visit the home page of a website then head straight on to a search page, the website should either have a link to the search page somewhere very prominent, or even include a search form on the home page, so users don't have to hunt around for it.
The closest physical analogy I can come up with is a loyalty card (like a Tesco clubcard or a Nectar card in the UK). For example, if a grocery shop finds out via its loyalty scheme that most customers who buy cornflakes also buy ketchup, apart from wondering about the their strange diet, it would make sense to put the cornflakes and ketchup reasonably close together on the shelves.
Advertising cookies may appear a little bit more intrusive: for example, if you visit a website that sells cornflakes, that information may be recorded in a cookie on your computer and then when you visit a site selling ketchup you may see adverts for cornflakes (even though you already bought some).
Of course the alternative is adverts which are not targetted, so you might see an advert for burgers, even though you hate them.
Again the loyalty card analogy is appropriate: when you buy stuff with your loyalty card the company may use data about your shopping preferences to give you special offers targetted at things you buy frequently (or that you might be tempted to try).
However, the point about cookies is that they are stored on your own computer and you control them as you wish.
In fact, if the you are bothered by idea of cookies and information being collected about you, you should probably cut up all your cards (credit cards, debit cards and loyalty cards) and switch your mobile off permanently.
What cookies are used on abcnotation.com?
abcnotation.com uses all three types of cookies - functional, analytic and advertising.
You may encounter different cookies in several different parts of the website (see the site map for more details of how the website is compartmentalised).
The main website, including the tune search, uses three functional cookies:
- The tunesearch_options cookie records which search options you have chosen (for example, whether you want the results returned as music or text)
- If you visit a web-page with a mobile (or a mobile page with a computer) you may find that the page is too large for the screen size (or the screen size is too large for the page). The first time you do this the page will display a prominent link to the alternative version but, so as not to annoy users, the resolution_detection cookie records when the last prominent link was shown and prevents them from being displayed more than once a day.
- The cookie_opt_in cookie records whether you have opted-in to allow abcnotation.com to store cookies on your computer. If not, you wont be able to use most of the site.
- The forums use functional (session) cookies to store a session id and a small amount of user data - see the phpBB FAQ for more details. Session cookies are deleted when you close your browser.
If you wish to opt out of Google Analytics you can use the Browser Add-on.
abcnotation.com uses Google AdSense for advertising and you will see adverts on all pages of the main website (except for this page).
For more information, see the Google advertising privacy FAQ.
If you wish to opt out of Google AdSense cookie you should visit the advertising opt-out page.
Why is there no cookie-free version of the website?
Apart from the intentionally empty cookie-free page, which is just intended as a little light relief, I don't really want to create one.
It's a bit like using a library - if you don't have a library card (which tracks what books you have taken out), you can't have any books: there is a huge amount of free stuff on this website, and the deal is that if you want to use that free stuff, you have to agree to accept cookies.
Of course you can then block the cookies in your browser or use some other solution, but I would really prefer that you didn't because I use analytics results to improve the website and also I would like you to click on some ads (and I think the best chance of that happening is if they are relevant).
Cookies are a fundamental part of how this website works (see above).
You are free to block them with your browser or opt-out manually (see below for suggestions), or in fact do anything you like with them in the privacy of your own computer, but if you wish to continue using the website you must consent to the website sending the cookies to your browser.
Opt in: I want to use the website - I'm happy to accept cookies
Visit any page (e.g. the home page, the tune search, the software page, ...) and click "No, thanks" when the pop-up asks if you want to change cookie settings. If you have previously opted-out this will reset your cookie settings to the default.
Opt out: I don't want cookies - I won't be using the website
The third option: I really want to use the website, but I really don't want to be tracked
If you want to use the website without being tracked you will need to opt-in to using cookies and then control the Google Analytics and Google Adsense cookies manually.
There are a number of ways of doing this:
- browser settings - see for example instructions for Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome and Safari 5
- Google's own tools (the Analytics Browser Add-on or the AdSense opt-out for interest-based advertising)
- other tools - for example the AVG (AntiVirus software) Do Not Track feature
I've changed my mind
Privacy, Advertising, Content and Copyright Policies
abcnotation.com only ever collects personal information from you when you register on the site - currently limited to the forums (for contributing to discussions) and the blog (for leaving comments). When registering you will be asked to enter your name or email address. Information collected in this way is never used for mass mailings and is never passed on to third parties.
Because abcnotation.com uses Google AdSense advertising and the DoubleClick DART cookie this policy is required to include the following information:
- Google's use of the DART cookie enables it and its partners to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and/or other sites on the Internet.
abcnotation.com takes paid advertising, mostly from Google AdSense and occasionally from relevant private advertisers.
Although the revenue is relatively small (and certainly no recompense for the hundreds of hours of work that have gone into constructing the site) it helps to defray expenses and just occasionally, when the numbers start to creep up, gives me tangible a reward for the improvements that I have been working on.
Even as webmaster I have little control over, or even knowledge of the Google adverts served (as every visitor will see different material) but as far as I know most Google AdSense adverts are relevant, appropriate and non-aggressive However, if do you see a really inappropriate advert, please let me know the URL of the offending advertiser (ideally with a screenshot) and I will seriously consider blocking them.
If you prefer not to see any advertising, then please do not use the site.
Site Content Policy
abcnotation.com almost exclusively contains family-friendly content related to music and in particular folk and traditional music.
However, in music that dates back as far as the early middle ages you may occasionally find material that could be considered offensive. For example, tune titles sometimes express cultural values that might be considered unacceptable today and also there are a small number of bawdy song lyrics.
Please, therefore, treat this site as you would any other reference material - don't blame the editor for the contents.
However, if you find material on this site that you really think is unsuitable, please let me know and I will seriously consider removing it.
To see the copyright policy, please visit the copyright page.
If you have any concerns or queries about the information and policies set out on this page, please do not hesitate to contact me.Chris Walshaw