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OpenAthens Conference 2018


Championing the user

22 March 2018

The British Library, London, UK

Join in the conversation on Twitter: #OAconf2018

This year’s conference theme ‘Championing the user’ reflects the challenges
we all face in providing users with secure, simple access to digital content.

Topics range from user-centred design and measuring user access
and engagement to data protection, security and piracy.

Guest speakers include:

William Bowes, Director of Policy and General Counsel, The Publishers Association
Don Thibeau, Chief Executive, OpenID Foundation
Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Services, The British Library

Conference sessions are a combination of keynotes,
panel discussions, surgery sessions and case studies.

Who is this for?Previous delegate feedback | Programme | Programme FAQs | Ticketing | Ticketing FAQs | Speakers | Sponsors and Exhibits | How to get there | Latest news and information

Delegate feedback from previous OpenAthens Conference, Nov 2016.

“Very good conference!”

“Useful three way dialogue between publishers, information managers and OpenAthens.”

“Good networking opportunities, great to learn about new products and a chance to speak directly to OpenAthens staff.”

Who is this for?

This event is of interest to anyone working in the education and research, healthcare, medical and pharma, corporate and publishing industries that has an interest in identity and access management and secure, seamless access to digital content. Job roles could include Librarians and Library Managers, Information Professionals, Publishers, Product Managers, IT Professionals and Developers.


(subject to change)

09:00 – 09:30
Registration, coffee, networking, clinics and exhibition

09:30 – 09:40
Welcome address

Mike Brooksbank, Chief Commercial Officer, Eduserv
Lecture theatre

9:40 – 10:10
Opening keynote ‘Piracy, Privacy and the Digital Charter’
William Bowes, Director of Policy and General Counsel, The Publishers Association
Lecture theatre
One of the very few Policy initiatives that the UK Government is pursuing alongside Brexit is the launch of its new Digital Charter. This aims to champion user experience and access whilst also respecting privacy and ensuring full respect for the Intellectual Property rights of creators. But as all users know, this is usually easier said than done. William Bowes will explore the issues currently facing policy makers in the digital space and why all those who value high quality education and research should care about what they decide.

10:10 – 10:40
Plenary: Authentication landscapes of tomorrow
Jon Bentley,  Commercial Director, OpenAthens
David Orrell, Application Architect, OpenAthens
Lecture theatre
Jon Bentley will introduce the importance of identity in establishing trust between different organisations to enable successful, flexible and long-standing licence agreements. David Orrell will share his insight into the technology that establishes this trust, and how current and future developments are increasing the importance of a valid and unique user identity across many different platforms – while placing control back into the hands of the user.

10:40 – 11:00
Coffee, networking, clinics and exhibitions

11:00 – 11:30
Plenary: OpenID Connect: Enabling online identity
Don Thibeau, OpenID Foundation
Lecture theatre
This presentation will provide a brief overview of the OpenID Foundation, a non-profit international standardisation organisation, and then introduce the OpenID Connect open identity standard used by many websites and applications globally. The presentation will then review use-cases that use OpenID Connect including OpenAthens , banking, real estate, and travel.

 11.30 – 12.30
Panel session: Has federated access management failed the end user?
Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Director of Publishing, Microbiology Society (Facilitator)
Catherine Micklethwaite, Library & Information Services Manager,
Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Richard Northover, Product Director, Elsevier
Dr Sandra Tury, Head of Library Services, University of London International Programmes
Lecture theatre
Since the rise of the web we’ve relied on IP recognition for on-campus access to institutional holdings, with a patchwork of other technologies to facilitate off-campus access. Federated access technologies such as SAML are a targeted, secure off-campus access route, but they entail a multi-step process for authentication. In this panel we consider the scholarly community’s recent discussions of IP versus federated access, and the debate around user experience, personalisation, and user data and privacy.

12:30 – 13:30
Lunch, networking, clinics and exhibition

13:30 – 14:30
Workshops/ discussion groups

a) Measuring user access and engagement: Who measures what and why?
Eliot room

– Andy Anderson, Business Analyst, OpenAthens
Why are things measured? How can measuring things help? What are the things anyway? Andy Anderson will take you through the development of analytics, how it can help and how you can make the most of the OpenAthens tools available to you.

b) How can user centred design transform the university library experience?
Chaucer room

Kristina Botyriute, International Technical Presales, OpenAthens
This interactive talk will explore the user centred design (UCD) methodology and how it can transform the experience for our users. Kristina will explain the design process and will look at the various frameworks you can use to introduce UCD to your projects. Kristina will also present findings from the most recent user research done by OpenAthens and will highlight some trends which have an impact on the users’ behaviour.

c) Protecting the user: Data protection, privacy and security
Bronte room

– Neil Scully, Head of Development and Service Delivery, OpenAthens
and Martyn Jansen, Contracts & Legal Manager, Eduserv
Neil and Martyn will explain how OpenAthens is responding to GDPR. We’ll look at a few key provisions from the regulations and for each one we’ll consider the technical measures needed to design and deliver OpenAthens, the operational impact of data security and the responsibilities of each party involved in attribute release and the concept of minimisation.

14:30 – 14:45
Coffee, networking, clinics and exhibition

14:45 – 15:45
Workshops/ discussion groups

a) Cultivating your online user: How to be visible, accessible, and reliable
– Tim Lull, VP of Sales and SaaS, EBSCO
– Kristin Delwo, President & CEO, Stacks
Chaucer room
Is your online presence meeting the needs of today’s patron? Our users are keener than ever before. Life is happening very quickly, is their research? Nurture their search and meet the expectations with smart content that is fast and easy to search and navigate.

b) Quick wins for an easier user journey: discovery, access and personalisation
– Adam Snook, Product Manager, OpenAthens
Eliot room
How can we work together to help make the user experience better when interacting with online content? This session will explore the importance of consistent terminology and language, enabling users to gain direct access to your content, and linking personalisation with single sign on. This session will be of interest to any publishers, platform providers, service providers, librarians and information professionals alike.

c) Case studies:
Bronte room

     1. The future of resource discovery in the NHS, Catherine Micklethwaite,
Library & Information Services Manager, Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
The information needs of the NHS and related health providers are diverse and complicated. At one end of the scale, we have the advanced researchers who need to be able to find pretty much everything on a topic. At the other end, we have many staff who last studied before the world wide web became mainstream and have no concept of how to search for or access resources. Just how do we facilitate search and access to evidence-based resources for over a potential 1 million users in England when these users comprise such diverse organisations as NHS Trusts, GPs, local government, pharmacists, opticians, charities, prison staff?

2. Two-click efficiency with OpenAthens, Kristina Botyriute, OpenAthens
Modern digital libraries place a lot of emphasis on great user experience. ‘Seamless access’ is the buzz word of today and often IP-recognition based technology is perceived to provide the easiest user journey. Seasoned librarians know this is a false impression: what happens when users navigate to resources via Google? What if they want to use personalisation features? In the RA21 era, there is no need to sacrifice features for convenience. Find out how OpenAthens can help you cover every user journey scenario in 1-2 clicks by connecting your VLEs, link resolvers, reading lists and various learning applications into a friendly single-sign-on bunch.

    3. Implications for online library resource access following the introduction of single sign-on to the University of Leeds
Trevor Hough, Service and Support Coordinator, Leeds University Library
In 2017, the University of Leeds adopted OpenAthens as a single sign-on authentication, replacing the existing Shibboleth authentication for its VLE and other services. The Library worked with the Central IT project team and Eduserv to ensure a smooth transition of the majority of e-resources from Shibboleth to OpenAthens.

15:45 – 16:15
Closing keynote: Transforming the (online) services and experience for British Library users
Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Services, the British Library
Lecture theatre
Libraries are facing a rapid change in the way research is conducted, shared and used. Computational research, social media, mobile, open access, research data, artificial intelligence and mandates for research information management are just some of the drivers. In response, the British Library is embarking on an ambitious programme to update its services to individual researchers and research organisations.

16:15 – 16:25
Closing address
Mike Brooksbank, Chief Commercial Officer, Eduserv
Lecture theatre

16:25 – 16:55
Drinks reception

17:00 – 17:45
British Library Tours (Limited tickets, prior booking needed):
Tour 1: Behind the scenes of the Conservation Studios. Sponsored by SirsiDynix.
Tour 2: Introduction to the Treasures of the British Library. *Sold Out* Sponsored by LM Information Delivery.

OpenAthens clinics available via the registration form. Limited availability, prior booking needed.

Programme FAQs

Are sessions role or industry specific?

Some of the opening, guest speaker and Q&A session aim to appeal to all. We have aimed to deliver a range of breakout sessions and roundtables to appeal to job roles and industry sectors.

What are support clinics?

Running throughout the day, spend up to 15 minutes with a member of our support of development team to discuss any issues face to face. These will be subject to availability.

What is the mini exhibition?

We are inviting a range of partners and suppliers to have small stands in the foyer of the Knowledge Centre, The British Library.

Drinks reception

Join us for a complimentary drink before you travel home.

Any other questions

Please email or call Beth Rutter on +44 (0)1225 437 514.


Ticket type

Early bird (ended 9 Feb 2018)

Normal rate


£50 buy one get one half price





Ticketing FAQs

Why are you charging for tickets?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we are asking for a nominal contribution towards event costs in order for us to deliver a quality conference that is a valuable learning and networking experience for our customers.

Is my ticket refundable?

Sorry, no your ticket is not refundable if you are unable to attend or decide not to come. This is because of the non-refundable contract terms of the venue. If the British Library cancels the event, we will pursue ticket cost refunds on behalf of our customers. If Eduserv need to cancel the event we will endeavour to refund ticket costs.

Is my ticket transferable?

Yes. Please email us with any changes to delegate names.

How do I book my breakout sessions and clinics?

This is included when you register for your delegate place via Eventbrite. Click on the blue ‘Register now’ button above.

How will I get my ticket/s?

Tickets will be emailed – bring a printed copy or show us on your phone.

How many people can attend from each organisation?

At this stage, we are capping delegates to two per organisation. This may change nearer the time.

I have dietary and/or special requirements - how can I let you know?

You can confirm dietary needs and special requirements when registering for your delegate place via Eventbrite.


William Bowes

William Bowes
Director of Policy and General Counsel, The Publishers Association

William Bowes is Director of Policy and General Counsel at the Publishers Association, the trade association representing book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. In this role, William is responsible for the Policy, Legal, Research and Public Affairs output and leads all interactions with Government and Regulators both in the UK and other countries. William is a qualified lawyer with a particular specialism in copyright. After qualifying and working in private practice, he subsequently worked as an in house counsel for Publishers covering the full range of consumer, professional and scholarly publishing including most recently serving as the General Counsel for the world’s oldest publisher, Cambridge University Press. He is a regular writer and speaker on issues relating to copyright and the role of Publishing in society with recent talks taking place in Oxford, Cambridge, Brussels, London, Frankfurt and New Delhi.

Follow William on Twitter.
Connect with William on LinkedIn.

Don Thibeau

Don Thibeau
Chief Executive, OpenID Foundation

Don is President and Chairman of the Open Identity Exchange (OIX), a non-profit, technology agnostic, organization of global leaders from the private and public sectors. OIX is a test bed for business, legal and governance best practices and policies and operates the OIXnet registry. Don is Chairman of OIX UK/Europe and the Co-Chair of the OASIS Electronic Identity Credential Trust Elevation Methods (Trust Elevation) Technical Committee.  

Don is also the Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation, a standards development organization. The foundation’s membership includes leaders from across industry sectors and governments that collaborate on the development, adoption and deployment of open identity standards. Don blogs at

OIX Board of Directors

Torsten Reimer

Torsten Reimer
Head of Research Services, the British Library

Dr Torsten Reimer is Head of Research Services at the British Library. He is leading a transformation of the Library’s service offering, including the contemporary collections, online and onsite services, to researchers and research organisations. Before joining the Library in 2016, he was responsible for developing and implementing the scholarly communications strategy at Imperial College London. Torsten has a background in digital humanities and scholarly communications, having held positions in this area at the University of Munich and King’s College London, and has worked extensively on digital infrastructure for research and education, for example as programme manager at Jisc.

Follow Torsten on Twitter.
Connect with Torsten on LinkedIn.

Trevor Hough

Trevor Hough
Service and Support Coordinator, Leeds University Library

Within the role of Service and Support Coordinator at the University of Leeds, Trevor looks after access to the online resources provided to academics and students via the Library, including authentication. He has recently been involved in the University’s move from Shibboleth to OpenAthens.

Dr Sandra Tury

Dr Sandra Tury
Head of Library Services, University of London International Programmes

Sandra is currently Head of Library Services at the University of London International Programmes (Senate House) where she has worked in various roles since 2005 including Head of e-resources and Reference Services for the University of London’s Senate House Library. Sandra has extensive experience (over 20 years) of managing, developing and implementing library information systems, including authentication and resource discovery solutions, and has been an OpenAthens administrator since 1998. She was also part of the team which implemented Shibboleth and upgraded to OpenAthens at the University of London in 2009. She is very passionate about the User Experience and in particular the Distance Learners’ experience.

Connect with Sandra on Linkedin.

Catherine Micklethwaite

Catherine Micklethwaite
Library & Information Services Manager, Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

As the Library Manager at Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Catherine performs the role of administrator for NHS OpenAthens accounts in the South West region and is a member of the national NHS OpenAthens administration group. She has recently undertaken research on the future of resource discovery for NHS staff and the role authentication systems play in this. Being relatively new to this sector, Catherine had to adjust to the realities of NHS information systems and requirements.

Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn

Follow Catherine on Twitter

Tim Lull

Tim Lull
Vice President, Software as a Service, EBSCO

Tim Lull has worked at EBSCO Information Services (EIS) in Ipswich, MA for 9 years. In that time, he has held various roles from Technical Support to Sales Management. Most recently, Tim’s main area of focus has been on maturing EBSCO’s products by increasing the integration and interoperability with all library software. This involves helping to manage and grow the partnerships that surround those opportunities – including Stacks and OpenAthens. Authentication, and the way forward around that, has been a key focus for EBSCO, and helped with OpenAthens. This is a critical because it’s well understood that they key to the user experience, and “championing the user” is to ease the burden of access. Tim will be presenting with Kristin Delwo, of Stacks Inc., and they will lead their discussion around improving the user experience via content aggregation, authentication, and delivery.

Kristin Delwo

Kristin Delwo
President & CEO, Stacks

Kristin Delwo, President & CEO, is focused on finding new and better ways to conduct business. She strives to improve efficiencies and make an impact on bottom lines and service delivery through today’s mobile technologies. She has been leading award-winning enterprise-scale projects for clients with a team of talented designers, programmers, engineers and software architects. As a former Public Library Manager and Systems Administrator for a large multi-type Consortia with over 10 years of experience managing library projects, Kristin knows first-hand the challenges libraries face and has built her business around creating solutions that are sustainable, affordable and accessible.

Richard Northover

Richard Northover
Product Director, Elsevier

Richard Northover is Product Director of Identity at Elsevier. Before he joined Elsevier in 2015, he spent 10 years at the BBC as a web developer and product manager, helping to build the sign in system for, and working on accessibility, privacy and user data strategy. He has a background in biology and science journalism, and has spent his fair share of time trying to access things in university libraries.

Connect with Richard on LinkedIn.

Follow Richard on Twitter.

Tasha Mellins-Cohen

Tasha Mellins-Cohen
Director of Publishing, Microbiology Society

An active participant in the scholarly publishing community, Tasha is a member of the COUNTER Executive and of the UKSG Education Committee. Her industry expertise stretches from publishing operations and project management to policy setting, via technology management and business analysis.

Connect with Tasha on LinkedIn

Kristina Botyriute

Kristina Botyriute
International Technical Pre-Sales Consultant, OpenAthens

Kristina Botyriute is an International Technical Pre-Sales Consultant for OpenAthens and author of ‘Access to online resources: A guide for the modern librarian’ with the determined mission to make the librarian’s job easier.

Daily interactions with libraries across a variety of environments all over the globe has allowed Kristina to help librarians achieve their goals, through bridging the gap between technical and non-technical roles with a mix of expert knowledge and no nonsense approach.

Connect on LinkedIn

Jon Bentley

Jon Bentley
Commercial Director, OpenAthens

Jon has worked in publishing for 20 years with a variety of commercial and business publishers. His career has spanned the transformation from print to digital as companies have reacted and adapted to new technology. But his belief remains that the fundamental purpose of a publisher hasn’t changed. Accessibility to accurate, intelligent, insightful information has never been more important. Trust is paramount and Jon is delighted that OpenAthens participates in establishing that trust between the publishers, libraries and the end users.

Follow Jon on Twitter

Connect on LinkedIn

Mike Brooksbank

Mike Brooksbank
Chief Commercial Officer, Eduserv

Mike joined Eduserv in March 2015 as Executive Director, responsible for OpenAthens. Prior to OpenAthens Mike held a number or senior commercial roles in technology centric businesses, he has directed and run international software and SaaS operations in the United States, the Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Under his direction the OpenAthens business has been reshaped and truly established internationally; Mike became Chief Commercial Officer of Eduserv in January 2017.

Connect on LinkedIn

Adam Snook

Adam Snook
Product Manager, OpenAthens

Adam is an experienced Technical Product Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Incident Management, Service Delivery, Technical Support, Customer Service and working in an Agile/Scrum environment.

Connect on LinkedIn

Neil Scully

Neil Scully
IT Director, OpenAthens

Neil has responsibility for leading the Development, Service and Technical Pre-Sales teams. He has lead the team through the program of modernising OpenAthens, having overseen the redevelopment of key parts of the service and the migration of the infrastructure to the CCI platform. He has implemented agile practices to increase the productivity of the Development Team and is currently moving the team towards adoption of DevOps practices. He has a wide range of management and leadership skills and vast experience of running technical teams.

Andy Anderson

Andy Anderson
Business Analyst, OpenAthens

A self-proclaimed renaissance geek with qualifications in Training, QA, and Licensed Victualling, Andy has bought a unique perspective to OpenAthens. About his current role he says: “If I’d known I’d be using my O Level in Statistics this much, I’d have paid more attention in class”.

Connect on LinkedIn

David Orrell

David Orrell
Application Architect, OpenAthens

David is an experienced Software Architect and expert in federated Identity and security-related architectures such as PKI, Certification Authorities, SSL/TLS and federation standards such as SAML, OpenID Connect and OAuth. David has presented at several national and international conferences and working groups (including the TERENA Task Force on European Middleware Coordination and Collaboration) in the areas of authentication, single sign-on and security. He also worked with and advised government bodies, on security and middleware.

Connect on LinkedIn

Martyn Jansen

Martyn Jansen
Contracts & Legal Manager, Eduserv

For ten years Martyn has provided the legal and contracts support to all Eduserv’s lines of business. He has 20+ years’ experience successfully drafting, negotiating and managing sale and procurement contracts in engineering and IT in public and private sectors in the UK and overseas. Martyn has worked for start ups and also the UK’s largest companies. Helped develop the original NEC contract. Commercial manager for ICL’s Prestige project with London Underground which spawned the Oyster card. Similar role on BT’s 21C fibre to the home project which led to BT Infinity being established. Central role in the leading UK contract law case. Extensive general management experience and board exposure.

Connect on LinkedIn

Sponsors and Exhibitors





BBC Monitoring

LM Information Delivery


British Library tour 1: Behind the scenes of the Conservation Studios. Sponsored by SirsiDynix.

British Library tour 2: Introduction to the Treasures of the British Library. *Sold Out* Sponsored by LM Information Delivery.

We have a few sponsorship opportunities available including the drinks reception.

Download more information and the booking form.

Please contact Jane Charlton with any queries.

How to get there

Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Rd
Kings Cross

Is there any parking?
There is no parking at this venue.

Where is the nearest train station?

King’s Cross. This is an eight minute walk from the venue.

Where is the nearest airport?

London City Airport.

Latest conference news and information

moving from Shibboleth to OpenAthens
By Trevor HoughFriday 16th Mar 2018

Implications for online library resource access following the introduction of single sign-on at the University of Leeds

OpenAthens 2018 Conference speaker Trevor Hough, Service and Support Coordinator …

Read more
Piracy, privacy and the Digital Charter
By William BowesThursday 1st Mar 2018

Piracy, privacy and the Digital Charter

OpenAthens 2018 Conference opening keynote speaker: William Bowes, director of policy …

Read more