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OpenAthens Conference 2019

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User-centred by design

19 March 2019

America Square Conference Centre, London, UK


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

About the Conference

The conference theme ‘User-centred by design’ reflects our collective commitment to developing a secure, simple and seamless user journey to content.

Topics range from user experience and user consent and privacy, to piracy and practical use of identity and access management.

The OpenAthens Conference attracts over 150 international publishers and library professionals from a wide range of sectors including education and research, healthcare, government, charity, publishing, and commercial. Anyone with an interest in identity and access management is welcome to attend.

We want our international conference audience to feel inspired and enthused about the sessions they participated in during the day and to benefit from the valuable connections they make through networking.

View the OpenAthens Conference 2018 resources page.


Who is this for?

This event is of interest to anyone working in 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.

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Delegate feedback from 2018 OpenAthens Conference.

“Topics and talks were relevant and interesting.”

“The programme was very topical, some good speakers and plenty of time for networking.”

“Excellent value for money, fantastic location and facilities and the speakers were interesting.”


(subject to change)

09:30 – 10:00
Registration, coffee, networking and exhibition

10:00 – 10:15
Welcome address
– Mike Brooksbank, managing director, OpenAthens

10:15 – 10:45
Opening keynote: Three models for UX design
– Dan Ramsden, creative director for user experience architecture, BBC

Dan will share three models for how he thinks about and practices user centred design. He’ll begin by sharing how Jesse James Garrett’s ‘Elements of User Experience’ got him started in the world of UX. He’ll then talk about the ‘double diamond’ model of divergent and convergent design thinking, as well as his own interpretation – Dan’s Fish. He’ll share stories of how the BBC put the audience at the heart of everything they do. And talk about the dangers of creating ‘unintentional information architecture’. Every design decision is an opportunity to make things easier or more difficult for your users. Dan will share his thinking on how we can be more intentional and user centred as we design and create software systems and the experiences they enable.

10:45 – 11:15
Plenary 1: Simplifying the SSO User Experience: The RA21 initiative moves into production
Todd Carpenter, executive director, National Information Standards Organization

The RA21 Project has been working for the past two years to improve the user experience of access to subscribed resources.  After having reviewed some initial pilot technologies, RA21 is ready to roll out its recommended practice and launch an ongoing service to support user identity management and individual access to content. The project is now entering a new phase, in which interested parties will form a consortium to provide ongoing maintenance, outreach support, and governance to the effort moving forward.  Todd will discuss what RA21 has accomplished, demonstrate the service, and provide an update on what is next for RA21.

11:15 – 11:45
Coffee, networking and exhibitions

11:45 – 12:15
Plenary 2: GALILEO for Life: Georgia’s Portal to Lifelong Learning
– Russell Palmer, assistant director for support services, GALILEO

GALILEO, the virtual library for the state of Georgia in the USA, entered 2017 with a vibrant and successful past, new leadership, and a strategic plan…that was last updated in 1995. The GALILEO team, assisted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, engaged its stakeholders in a strategic planning process. Through this initiative, our vision became clear: GALILEO facilitates the creation of knowledge and provides tools and resources for all Georgians to meet their lifelong learning needs.

In order to support this strategic vision, GALILEO set strategic goals with authentication as a cornerstone for future service development and customization. Russell Palmer, GALILEO Assistant Director, will explore the team’s determination to actualize this vision, and the role OpenAthens will play in GALILEO’s future.

12:15 – 12:45
Sponsored vendor lightning talks

1. Lean Library: Automating OpenAthens authentication to help end users and librarians alike
– Johan Tilstra, CEO & founder, Lean Library – a SAGE Publishing company

Johan will give us a potted history of Lean Library and how his idea for a library browser plugin offering context bound, ‘just in time’ and ‘just in place’ library services became today’s highly successful product. Lean Library is now in active use by numerous students and researchers from universities and corporations around the world. A short demo will show how Lean Library greatly reduces the cognitive load for OpenAthens users while providing librarians with a clear presence in their users’ workflow.

More speakers TBC

12:45 – 13:45
Lunch, networking and exhibition

13:45 – 14:45
Breakout sessions:

a) Case studies:
1. “Can you do something with this data?”
– Samantha Heeson, electronic and data services librarian, Leeds Beckett University

Integrated data is key to effective data analysis, but disparate data is often the reality. University library analytics is one area where this is changing. It is being driven by a desire to better understand library users, whether they be students or academics, and thus support their successful learning, researching and teaching experience, as well as the need to manage budgets and collections.

This session is about enabling broader and deeper analysis of OpenAthens e-resource usage data and looks at a pilot project at Leeds Beckett University Library, which assessed the feasibility of integrating OpenAthens e-resource usage data, collected at the user ID level, with Student Record data.

2. Clinician training in the Queensland public health sector
– Cindy Slater, senior customer engagement manager, EBSCO

The session will provide an insight into how training is delivered to clinicians in Queensland Health and touch on challenges associated with ensuring all staff across this large geographic area have access to the resources, know how to access the resources, and how to get the most out resources.

3. Ups and downs of merging accounts
– Sonja van Montfort-van der Beek, head of libraries, Defra

The session will provide an overview of the account management project for Defra Libraries, describing the overall aims and objectives. As well as discussing the challenges of providing seamless access for staff who move regularly within the different Defra organisations, whilst also ensuring only relevant licensed resources are being accessed.

4. Creating a seamless reading experience with OpenAthens and PressReader
– Mark Ritchie, Director of libraries, PressReader

PressReader works with OpenAthens to build a seamless user experience,  offering access to over 7,000 newspapers and magazines straight from the PressReader app. OpenAthens integrates well with the PressReader platform, giving students off-site access by logging in once using the same credentials they already use for other services at their institution. It’s one less thing to remember, and makes access easier than ever.

Our presentation will feature real examples of how PressReader works with OpenAthens to solve the problems of institutions around the world to elevate the user experience. Because while content matters, so does the way you access it and your students want an easy way to read stories that matter to them.

b) Workshop: User-centred publishing
– Vee Rogacheva, UX designer, OpenAthens

This workshop explores the challenges and opportunities for publishers to provide an improved online experience for their users. The first part of the workshop will look at the user journey for students and highlight behavioural trends which have an impact on the way students navigate online content. In the second part of the workshop, the audience will be invited to share and discuss ideas on how to turn the changing user behaviour into an opportunity to improve the way content is accessed and delivered.

c) OpenAthens sessions
1. Marketing OpenAthens to users
– Michelle Silvestre, marketing manager, OpenAthens

Top tips for marketing your digital content and promoting access through OpenAthens.

2. How to make the most of OpenAthens
– Joe Bromley, support analyst, & Jake Wiles, technical solutions expert, OpenAthens

Jake and Joe will showcase the latest and greatest in the OpenAthens admin area for librarians. You’ll hear all about new product functionality such as the reporting tool and other features that will help make your role as an OpenAthens administrator as easy as possible. This session is for people that have previously used the OpenAthens admin area. Take this opportunity to ask us any questions and to feedback on our product.

14:45 – 15:15
Coffee, networking and exhibitions

15:15 – 16:15
Panel debate: Piracy as a disruptor for change
– Emily Powell, knowledge and information specialist, College of Policing
– Naomi Korn, founder and managing director, Naomi Korn Associates
– More speakers (TBC)

Our library community generally talk about piracy in this context “Piracy is bad and SciHub has all our literature. Clearly this is unsustainable and not in the interests of publishers or librarians, so what are we going to do about it?”

Piracy exists for the same reason as Open Access – to increase the availability of academic information. It also creates leverage when negotiating licensing deals, especially with some of the larger publishers.

So should we as a community think about piracy as less of threat and more as an opportunity?

Join our panel session and take part in the debate around piracy and what we as a community need to do to make it easier for end users to access online content.

16:15 – 16:45
Plenary 3: OpenAthens product roadmap
– Adam Snook, product manager, OpenAthens

16:45 – 17:00
Closing address
– Mike Brooksbank, managing director, OpenAthens

17:00 – 17:45
Drinks reception

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.

Drinks reception

Join us for a complimentary drink before you travel home.

Any other questions?

Please email or call Beth Rutter on +44 (0)117 313 0466.

What is the mini exhibition?

We are inviting a range of partners and suppliers to have small stands in the main networking and catering area of America Square Conference Centre.


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 nonrefundable contract terms of the venue. If the conference venue cancels the event, we will pursue ticket cost refunds on behalf of our customers. If OpenAthens 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?

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.


Dan Ramsden

Dan Ramsden
Creative director for UX Architecture & UX Writing, BBC

As creative director for UX architecture (UXA) and design research at the BBC, Dan Ramsden leads a team of information architects who are committed to making the BBC’s tools, content and experiences more meaningful and connected. He’s responsible for defining the professional practice of UXA at the BBC and ensuring that the organisation is creating information architecture that delivers the best possible experiences to its editors and audiences.

Dan has previously worked for agencies and ran a theatre company. He now designs labels, vocabularies, URLs, navigation, strategies, and processes. He likes jokes, magic and making the most of moments. He also likes alliterations. He lives just outside Sheffield (UK) with a wife, a child, and a cat called Rosa.

Todd Carpenter

Todd Carpenter
Executive director, National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

Todd Carpenter is currently executive director of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), a non-profit trade association that fosters the development and maintenance of technology standards for the creation, management, and exchange of content. Prior to joining NISO, Todd held management positions at BioOne, The Johns Hopkins University Press, the Energy Intelligence Group, and the Haworth Press. He has served on the Boards of several industry and community organizations, including the Foundation for the Baltimore County Public Library, the Society for Scholarly Publishing, and the Free Ebook Foundation. Todd is a graduate of Syracuse University and holds a masters degree in business from the Johns Hopkins University.

Russell Palmer

Russell Palmer
Assistant director for support services, GALILEO

Russell Palmer is the assistant director for support services at GALILEO, Georgia’s Virtual Library, and has worked within the library community for over 20 years. At GALILEO, Russell supervises support services staff, processes and workflows, maintains the GALILEO training program, and manages the review and implementation of new technology products and services.

Russell joined GALILEO in 2016 after ten years at LYRASIS, the largest U.S. library, and cultural heritage network, where he served as training manager, implementation project manager for Digital Technology Services, and membership program manager. Russell began his professional career at Mercer University as an Interlibrary loan and reference librarian, and would later lead the Mercer information literacy instruction team.

A native Georgian, Russell graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and received his master’s degree in library science from Florida State University.

Samantha Heeson

Samantha Heeson
Electronic and data services librarian, Leeds Beckett University

Samantha leads on data analysis and management in Libraries and Learning Innovation at Leeds Beckett University.  She provides senior managers, library decision makers and academic support colleagues with evidence and insight about resource usage, user engagement and library impact, so that students, lecturers and researchers have appropriate, impactful and cost-effective learning materials, all within the confines of limited budget.  Samantha previously worked in the university’s Registry, Strategic Planning and Student Centred Change Management teams, as well as IT project management in the private sector.  She enjoys finding new and enhancing existing solutions.

Emily Powell

Emily Powell
Knowledge and information specialist, College of Policing

Emily Powell is the Systems Librarian for the College of Policing, managing EDS, OpenAthens and Heritage Cirqa. The National Police Library provides library services for all members of the College who are England and Wales police officers and staff. Emily has been a Government librarian since 2009 working for the College and the Ministry of Defence and is a firm believer in Open Access and the liberalisation of copyright.

Sonja van Montfort-van der Beek

Sonja van Montfort-van der Beek
Head of libraries, Defra

Sonja is Head of Libraries at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Sonja led on the merger of the libraries from the Animal Plant and Health Agency, Core Defra and Natural England. Sonja also established a model for PAYG services to a number of Defra bodies.

Prior to joining Defra, Sonja held positions at Cambridge University Library, PriceWaterHouseCoopers and GCI Information Services. Sonja holds a masters degree in Information Management from the University of Amsterdam.

Cindy Slater

Cindy Slater
Senior customer engagement manager, EBSCO

Cindy is based in Melbourne, Australia and is the trainer for CKN (Clinical Knowledge Network) Queensland Health’s research portal; delivering onsite and online training to clinicians. Cindy has a clinical background as a Podiatrist. She has also worked as a school teacher and software trainer. Cindy is a qualified librarian.

Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie
Director of libraries, PressReader

Mark is passionate about education and knowledge sharing. In the past 12 years, he has worked with libraries in more than 55 countries and has been instrumental in helping libraries successfully shift from print to digital. All while focusing on the changing ways that patrons experience and engage with content.

Naomi Korn

Naomi Korn
Naomi Korn Associates, founder and managing director

Naomi Korn is one of the leading UK experts in copyright, data protection & GDPR, rights and licensing. She is a highly-experienced presenter and trainer and has run hundreds of workshops for charities, educational establishments, cultural heritage organisations and publishers.

Naomi trained as an Archaeologist and was an Assistant Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology and Copyright Assistant at the Israel Museum 1995-2000. Naomi established Naomi Korn Associates in 2003, after having overseen copyright at the Tate from 2000 – 2003. She is the former Chair, Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) from 2013 – 2017. During this period, she led the reform of the UK’s copyright laws on behalf of the cultural heritage sector, resulting in new UK exceptions to copyright in 2014. She has also regularly represented the interests of the sector to UK Government Ministers and she regularly sits on Government advisory groups. From 2002 – 2007, Naomi was the Secretary of the Museums Copyright Group and also a founding member of the Museums IP Network. From 2015-17, Naomi was a Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional (CILIP), the second largest professional organisation for librarians in the world. Naomi is a visiting lecturer at City University, University College London and Kingston University. In November 2017, Naomi was appointed a CREATe Industry Fellow and in 2018 Naomi joined the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Advisors Network as a sectorial specialist on rights management supporting HFL and its funded projects.

Johan Tilstra

Johan Tilstra
CEO & founder, Lean Library - a SAGE Publishing company

Johan is CEO and founder of Lean Library, a SAGE Publishing company, that offers a browser extension for patrons of academic and research libraries. Before founding Lean Library, he worked as a programme manager and innovator at Utrecht University Library, where he became fixated with improving library services.

Mike Brooksbank

Mike Brooksbank
Managing director, OpenAthens

Mike joined Eduserv in March 2015 as executive director, responsible for OpenAthens. Prior to OpenAthens Mike held a number of 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 managing director of OpenAthens & Chest in 2018.

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.

Vee Rogacheva

Vee Rogacheva
UX designer, OpenAthens

Vee works with the OpenAthens product team to introduce product improvements and innovation, merging analytical, strategic and creative thinking in her work. Vee works with stakeholders to help them align business goals to user needs and helps OpenAthens customers with a wide range of challenges from user research through to digital services redesign.

Connect on LinkedIn.
Follow on Twitter.

Michelle Silvestre

Michelle Silvestre
Marketing manager, OpenAthens

Michelle is an experienced marketing manager with a background in technology, environmental data, and not-for-profit sectors. Specifically looking after the OpenAthens product for librarians, Michelle is responsible for all aspects of the marketing mix, working closely with our global channel partners and with the product team to put our customers at the centre of all we do at OpenAthens.

Connect on LinkedIn.

Joe Bromley

Joe Bromley
Support analyst, OpenAthens

Joe is one of the members of the OpenAthens Service Desk. Joe has a wealth of experience working in customer service and relishes in new challenges. Since joining OpenAthens Joe has been working heavily on building his knowledge to offer the best support possible to his customers.

Jake Wiles

Jake Wiles
Technical solutions expert, OpenAthens

Jake works with the OpenAthens Solutions team to oversee legacy migrations and new implementations of Identity and Access management systems. He is experienced in the IT industry providing technical support, customer service and thinking outside the box.

Sponsorship & Exhibits

Download floor plan for available spaces.

Please email for further information or to book.

How to get there

No.1, America Square
17 Crosswall

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

Where is the nearest train station?
London Fenchurch Street is a four-minute walk from the venue.

Where is the nearest tube station?
Tower Hill is a four-minute walk from the venue.

Where is the nearest airport?
London City Airport.

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