Remote Access to Electronic Resources Issues in Academic Libraries ---- Maureen Weicher, St. John’s University May 2012
Remote Access to Online Resources• Reassessment – why is it needed?• Where are we now?• What are the options?
Why reassess?• Users who discover resources without going through library website may not realize they have access to full text• Hybrid systems can make technical support more difficult• Students may have to keep track of multiple userids/passwords• Better support for mobile devices
Why reassess?• Unauthorized usage of electronic resources due to outdated usernames and password sharing – this not only violates license but skews usage statistics and can cost $$$• Some systems offer consolidated usage statistics• Different options are now available than when the initial decisions were made
Obstacles• Cost• Some systems may require IT support or institutional buy-in• Difficulty of implementation• User education
Still, we should look at the options• IP authentication• Proxy Server• Sunguard Luminus (St. John’s Central)• Userid/Password for individual websites• Athens access and identity management• Shibboleth federated identity solutions with Incommon (shared management of access to on-line resources)
Where are we now?• St. John’s is using a hybrid system for remote access to electronic resources.• It is managed in part by IT and part by Library Systems programmers.• It includes:
IP authentication• Electronic Resource Librarian sets up IP addresses for each database.• Includes all on campus IP addresses.• Requires valid login to Library Computer
Proxy Server/ EZ-Proxy• Used for off-campus access (though can also be implemented on campus)• Requires valid login/userid – under control of library• Library systems programmer sets up a config file for each electronic resource• Proxy server prefix must be added to url
St. John’s Central• Students sign on with same userid and password as their email account• Sunguard Higher Education: Luminus Platform IV• Problems: Userids/passwords may get into wrong hands or are not deleted at graduation or when student leaves.
Athens• Provides single sign to most databases (set up in Admin module)• Alternatively, sign on to OpenAthens• List of usernames held by Eduserv or locally• Do not need to sign on to proxy server• Independent of IP address
Athens• IT participation is not required• Consolidated usage statistics• Largely adopted in UK• Comax Data is US representative• Cost?• Provider must be compliant with Athens (most are)
Shibboleth• Federated identity solutions• Identity Provider supports single sign on• May include applications outside Library• IT participation recommended?• Supported by third parties such as Unicon• InCommon is a US-based service that supports end-user access to Shibboleth
Other options• Jstor has list of all participating institutions on their website. The login redirects to library sign-on.
“MyResearch” accounts• Set up by each user• Access research outside IP/Proxy Server• Other benefits may include saving articles, RSS etc.• Drawbacks include proliferation of accounts, lack of user acceptance• Some vendors are allowing MyResearch to be associated with gmail accounts.
Recommendations• Look further into InCommon for Shibboleth since that seems to be most widely used in U.S.• Ask for password reset at end of each academic year to minimize password sharing.