Open Athens
Search OpenAthens Open Athens

OpenAthens Conference 2019: Case studies on data, training and technology

AvatarBy Michelle Silvestre
Category - Blog

Wednesday 24th April 2019

Attendees at the OpenAthens Conference 2019 had an exciting and busy agenda which included the opportunity to attend different breakout sessions following the keynote and plenary speeches.   

The case study session featured a number of speakers from various organisations introducing their experiences of OpenAthens’ software and the benefits it brings to their organisation and library users  


Samantha Heeson, Leeds Beckett University  

Samantha Heeson

Electronic and data services librarian Samantha Heeson, based at Leeds Beckett Universitydescribed how she had been tasked with using OpenAthens’ reporting functions to gather data which could be used to inform key stakeholders throughout the organisation.  

Entrusted with this undertaking, Samantha explained how she had explored the reporting capabilities of OpenAthens and used the data downloaded from the platform to develop a standard report which demonstrated institutional trends in user engagement with the library and highlighted any anomalies.  

Leeds Beckett University now uses the reports for specific purposes such as providing detailed information on particular departments or year groups and their use of library resources.   

Samantha highlighted that having access to this granular data had many benefits, including fostering healthy discussions throughout the university about particular student groups, enhancing academic support and informing purchasing decisions. It was also being used to plan future support for students and their research. 

Being able to visualise the data has made it much easier to spot and address any issues or anomalies which had previously been a significantly more difficult task when working just with numbers on a spreadsheet.  

The OpenAthens data is also being employed by Samantha to carry out correlation analysis such as mapping student satisfaction with resource usage and this is expected to reveal some interesting data in the future for the university to consider.  


 Cindy Slater, EBSCO 

Cindy Slater

EBSCO senior customer engagement manager Cindy Slater gave a talk on her role training clinicians to ensure that all staff in the public health sector in Queensland, Australia, know how to get the best out of the resources available to them. 

There are approximately 80,000 clinicians accessing resources via the Clinical Knowledge Network (CKN) – a resource portal available to everyone working in Queensland public health – daily.  

The resources, which include research databases, drug information, journals and eBooks, are mostly accessed on-site within hospitals via IP access but there are around 12,000 registered OpenAthens accounts for those accessing the CKN remotely. 

Cindy explained the many benefits of using OpenAthens’ single sign-on software:  

  • Seamless authentication for clinicians when moving from resource to resource 
  • Mobile health providers and clinicians studying for postgraduate degrees out of working hours being able to access resources remotely using different devices 
  • On-call clinicians accessing necessary documents before attending emergencies on-site 
  • Ease of managing and using an OpenAthens account. 

EBSCO provides training resources and a 24/7 helpdesk, and Cindy also highlighted how OpenAthens enables her to provide clinicians with training via webinars which are cost effective and accessible to a wider audience in Queensland. 


 Mark Ritchie, PressReader 

Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie is the director of libraries at PressReader and his case study was on the platform’s partnership with OpenAthens to provide seamless access to content for the user and removing technical inefficiencies. 

Acknowledging the incredibly difficult job of librarians to provide enough content for users, let alone content that is also easily accessible, Mark explained how the app integration with OpenAthens enables PressReader, as a publisher, to increase the visibility of its library partners and provide a seamless easy-to-use service.  

Users can access resources remotely on PressReader via OpenAthens single sign-on and, as a result of this partnership, the two organisations are developing great technology in order to make content more accessible that ever. 

Mark also highlighted that by encouraging libraries to treat users as customers and increasing engagement, PressReader can continue providing content at premium value.  


 If you want to find out more about any of these case studies, head to our Conference 2019 resources page to watch the videos from the day and to view speakers’ presentations. 

Share this article