The Switchings Over to Single Sign On

Well, I too, was hoping that it would be a switch over, but it seems almost every Data Service Provider requires that we contact them about this change. We have also needed to construct a new URL for our links to their services and consider the best ‘how to connect’ advice to give for each one.

On Wednesday 27th July, two weeks after the announced ‘going live’ of the Single Sign On service there were 186 successful logins to the service. There were also 52 failed login attempts, making a 78% success rate. Most of the failed attempts led to people having a second go with the appropriate login details and succeeding.
Other usage statistics show that 74% of people arriving at the login page did show because they had visited the library web site.

At this point there are 83 resources that the library is promoting that enable Single Sign On access one way or another. We are still talking with some publishers about setting this up, so the list is expected to continue to grow.

49 services have been found to allow direct logging in from links on the library website. In technical terms these are WAYFless logins because they skip the Where Are You From (WAYF) stage. Examples here include EBSCO, LexisLibrary and ScienceDirect. With at least one publisher, Edinburgh University Press, we may have solved longstanding off-site access issues.

Another group  allows Single Sign On access, but does not require this for users on campus. The Times Digital Archive and legal database HeinOnline are a couple of examples of this type.

Around 20 sites require that you select ‘De Montfort University Library Resources’ from a list of institutions. If you use the same browser and computer each time, a cookie on the computer will remember your choice, to make it easier next time. IEEE Xplore and Construction Information Service are examples.

JSTOR offers a variation on this pattern by asking you to login via ‘De Montfort University’, while MetaPress and Springer require that you opt for ‘De Montfort University (Shibboleth).

There is a group of services where the only access we have is through the OpenAthens Gateway. Offsite you have to bypass the Athens sign in process to get to the Single Sign On point. Select ‘Alternative login’ and choose ‘De Montfort University’ from the list of universities, then go to the De Montfort University Library Resources login page.  But there are link on the library website that point directly to these resources. The ones on this list are: British Pharmacopoeia 2011, British Standards Online, New Scientist archive, Practical Law Company and WARC.

There are, as I said, a few more services to sort out, but our attention is moving now to the OpenURL Resolver and the advice it gives on how to login to different services. I am very glad to get any feedback, especially where people have encountered problems with Single Sign On as this enables us to tweak the service so that it works better for everyone.

About Philip Adams

Senior Assistant Librarian at De Montfort University. I have recently introduced a Single Sign On service for the library's databases and electronic journals. I am interested in digital preservation and the use of data to measure a library's impact. All comments own.
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