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New updates coming online

AvatarBy Beth Rutter
Category - News

Monday 1st February 2016

We are launching a number of significant enhancements to OpenAthens this year. These will be phased as we update  e-resources within the catalogue to bring them in line with the new features.

New features cover:

1. Easier connections to local user directories
2. Improved end user experience via the OpenAthens log-in screen
3. Extension of link management for on- and off-site access – the Redirector for UKAMF
4. Account and attribute management within the admin area
5. Connections to other SAML applications

These features will improve the experience for end users, reduce the challenges around link management for knowledge managers and increase the flexibility for OpenAthens to offer a single sign on experience to e-resources.

We remain committed to removing barriers that prevent access to licensed knowledge and information.

You can also sign up to our Q&A webinars where we will answer questions you may have.

•Tuesday, 8th March, 16:00 to 16:45 GMT: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3035936694902489092
•Wednesday, 9th March, 09:00 09:45 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7389396909988640516

New features

1. Easier connections to local user directories

OpenAthens now has a range of options for information professionals who want to use usernames and passwords in their own directories to access their portfolio of learning resources and applications. We call this Local Authentication.

We now have the ability to establish a connection with these directories using a variety of methods including our LDAP connector, SAML connections using products such as ADFS or Ping Federate and bespoke development with our new API connector.

The goal remains to keep the technical requirements to a minimum and many of the connections can be established quickly and with little effort.

2. Improved end-user experience via the OpenAthens log-in screen

The new responsive OpenAthens log-in screen now works across all devices and screen sizes, allowing a much better journey for patrons and end-users. Simple branding of the screen also radically improves the experience for returning visitors and those accessing the link through specific urls.

And end-users landing on the screen also have a much better process for searching for their own institution, getting rid of the alternative log-in process.

3. Extension of link management for on- and off-site

The Redirector – a tool for managing authentication URLs and IP ranges – is now available across all customers and all resources.

Our customers outside the UKAMF have been able to use a single link to take an end-user directly to their required resources either through a recognised IP range or through an OpenAthens authentication point.

This functionality will now be available for all UK AMF resources increasing the availability of this valuable tool that removes the need to manage dual links and provides a simpler journey for the end user.

4. Account management within the admin area

Our new admin area tools provide greater flexibility around managing information held on users within OpenAthens. A further development is the ability for admins to control and then release more information to publishers and service providers.

This will lead to a much better understanding of usage by role rather than location.

5. Connections to other SAML applications

Custom SAML resources can be added so that end-users can login to other applications used by their institution. This allows users to add targets such as GoogleApps, Moodle and many others that support SAML authentication into the resource catalogue and make them part of the single sign-on experience.

There is still plenty more to do in 2016, but an important part of our work will be building products and services that make it easier for publishers to increase engagement with our end-users with a lighter, more consistent approach to institutional log-in.

As always, we welcome feedback, ideas and suggestions for improvement, so please contact jon.bentley@eduserv.org.uk if there are ways we can continue to improve our service for you.


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