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Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Agilent Technologies, Inc,

OpenAthens makes access to business-critical information seamless and secure for Agilent Technologies, Inc. corporate users worldwide.

“There aren’t many good solutions out there offering seamless, global access to library resources. OpenAthens addresses that more than anybody does. If you’ve a handful of databases, publishers will support you with an internal system. But when you’re a corporate like Agilent with lots of little publishers – some in the Federation, some via Shibboleth or proxy – you need something that can handle all those different situations.”
Cindy Alfieri, Global Manager, Content Licensing and Manager of Library@Agilent, Agilent Technologies, Inc.

“Before OpenAthens, remote access to resources was managed through a complex process. OpenAthens provides an elegant solution for providing access to resources easily, whether on or off the network.”
Mark Andrea, Systems Librarian, Library@Agilent, Agilent Technologies Inc.

The Challenge

Agilent Technologies, Inc. is a global leader in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. It employs about 12,500 people, working with customers in more than 100 countries, providing instruments, software, services and consumables for the entire laboratory workflow.

To access Library@Agilent funded information resources, Agilent had been using IP addresses for authentication, but this was becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage.

“As our business needs change and new units are formed in our global organization, changes to our IP infrastructure are frequently required. Coordination of these changes with our information service vendors was difficult to manage on a timely and comprehensive basis, frequently resulting in an interruption of library service to some of our growing number of library users. IP reassignments caused vendor systems to mis-identify Agilent users causing licensed content access issues. We take both issues quite seriously, and a different solution was clearly required,” says Mark Andrea, Systems Librarian, Library@Agilent, Agilent Technologies Inc.

Many companies use cloud-based firewalls that assign a public facing IP address that is drawn from a range of addresses. IP addresses in those ranges are susceptible to being shared by other companies. Publishers often reject cloud-based ranges since they cannot properly identify the licensed user.

Another issue facing companies is remote connectivity. For example, authentication to library resources fails for contractors working off-site because they must rely on their own internet connection and hence do not receive a public facing IP address associated with Agilent.

The solution

“We’d been watching OpenAthens for a while as it gained more play with research institutions, medical facilities and corporations. OpenAthens works in a variety of ways with lots of publishers as opposed to a single identity management system, which made it a clear choice for Agilent. It also came down to OpenAthens being something that the library could set up without the help of internal IT,” says Andrea.

Today, Agilent uses OpenAthens to give staff single sign-on access to dozens of publisher resources and thousands of e-journals and e-books. This information is critical to enabling Agilent scientists, researchers, and sales and marketing staff across the globe to perform their jobs.

Access to library information via OpenAthens began with an on-line, self-registration form. Then after a year, OpenAthens was integrated with Agilent’s corporate Single Sign On (SSO) directory for a seamless access to library resources. Local access is now available in just one or two clicks. IP-based authentication has been removed and all access is via the OpenAthens Federation or by proxy, depending on publisher requirements.

To ensure a smooth transition, OpenAthens was deployed in a phased approach, with IP addresses in place until users were able to register with OpenAthens.

During and since deployment, Agilent commended OpenAthens for its knowledge, expertise and responsiveness to support requests, as well as improving statistics, especially around user-level access, to gain a clearer understanding of how library resources were being used.


– Transforms access to library information where IP authentication made it virtually impossible.

– Ensures corporate employees have ‘no barriers’ access to information essential to business-critical functions.

– Enables users to access information from any location quickly, efficiently and securely.

– Provides access to real-time, high level and drill-down statistics which help determine resource use and cost effectiveness.

– Deploys simply and quickly OpenAthens local sign-on; rolled out in one week.

– Allows initial set up and ongoing management by library staff rather than by IT.