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Are you getting the most out of OpenAthens?

Kristina BotyriuteBy Kristina Botyriute
Category - Blog

Tuesday 10th October 2017

Every service subscription comes with expectations. Netflix subscribers want to watch movies online, in good quality, on demand. Subscribers to Royal Mail’s Redirection service expect their post to arrive straight to the specified address, bypassing the address on the envelope. So, what should you expect of software-as-a-service?

For one, it is very important it does what it says on the tin. We must be able to trust our providers. You deserve a dedicated support team and regular software updates, compliance with national and international security standards and of course, a good uptime. However, the core question remains: does it make your life easier?

Striving for improved services

Simple user journey - Enhance your user’s experienceOpenAthens is a powerful package of services, with the ability to transform a researcher’s journey to information and reduce librarian’s efforts when managing access to online resources. But, how do you deal with the scenario where the system was set up a while ago and the implementer, with all their knowledge, has moved on to pastures new? Perhaps you are striving for an institution-wide single sign-on (SSO) and want the library to play its part? We have found librarians and IT teams behind the most advanced setups are always looking for ways to perfect their system. They are looking for validation that their users are getting the best experience possible. You may have heard the famous quote ‘The best big idea is going to be as good as its implementation’. [1] In the context of your SSO system, if your key components are utilised to less than 90% of their capabilities, you might be missing out!

OpenAthens can make your life easier

This is why we have designed a new service to help you make the most out of your subscription to OpenAthens. A comprehensive Health Check covers diagnostics as well as the fix of any issues you may be experiencing with your service. The light touch approach does not require any access to your internal network, yet we can advise on how your library applications fit into a site-wide SSO map or even help you design one. It’s all about enhancing your user journey and minimising the admin effort, future-proofing every link and reducing the number of clicks.

Enhance your user’s experience

So far, OpenAthens Health Checks have uncovered a range from 3 to horrifying 14 clicks to the target resource. This can dramatically affect your researcher’s mood. Would you know if your users are experiencing a similar nightmare? Would you not want to cut it to a maximum of 2 steps? We have seen librarians working long hours to maintain two sets of links for on and off-site use respectively. Would you not rather spend those hours helping your users with their research strategies and let us unite two methods of authentication in a single link? Are you after a single login experience but instead your users are wrestling with same-sign-on across different applications? Does your Blackboard, Talis, Alma and ADFS talk to each other or are they prompting for separate logins each time? We can help start the conversation of a better way by finding protocols common to these applications so you can recycle the same set of credentials throughout the system.

Does this ring true to your library challenges? Don’t wrestle with a headache, get in touch.


[1] Jay Samit

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