[Eril-l] Switching from EZ proxy to Shibboleth/Open Athens/SAML Where do I begin?

Steve Oberg steve.oberg at wheaton.edu
Thu Nov 2 15:27:08 PDT 2017

I’m not sure what switching from EZproxy to Shibboleth really means, Jean…because as I understand it, many institutions run EZproxy and Shibboleth together just fine. We aren’t there yet but will be once Shibboleth is implemented by our campus IT.

I’m quite happy with EZproxy overall, but of course, your mileage may vary. We have complete control over our local instances of EZproxy (we do not use the hosted setup), and have put in some minor effort to better anticipate, track, and be notified whenever users encounter an EZproxy error. In these cases, we have set up automated methods to notify us by an email that creates a ticket in our helpdesk ticketing system. We have good local expertise in configuring and managing EZproxy and can make changes any time so as to be responsive to issues that arise.

We’ve considered OpenAthens but I just don’t see the added value at this stage, plus I see less local control and higher cost for the service. I may be missing something but that’s where we stand at this point.


Steve Oberg
Assistant Professor and Group Leader for Resource Description and Digital Initiatives
Buswell Library, Wheaton College (IL)
+1 (630) 752-5852

President, NASIG<http://www.nasig.org>
[cid:32787338-69FA-440A-A056-77F4993DE460 at wheaton.edu]

On Nov 2, 2017, at 2:09 PM, Sibley, Jean J <bjsibley at WM.EDU<mailto:bjsibley at WM.EDU>> wrote:

Hi Donna, We recently switched from EZProxy to Shibboleth for over 200 databases from our major vendors – Ebsco, Gale, and  ProQuest.

I started out working with our IT department – but once you learn what parameters are needed it’s pretty straightforward. Some vendors let you do it yourself through the vendor’s administrator module. For some, you can email support and fill out a form. Basically, you need to know your institution’s IDP entity ID, federation, and scope.

Also, the URLs for your resources need to be changed to remove your proxy prefix and/or sometimes append shibboleth and an account ID. I learned the hard way on this and had to re-do over a hundred URLs.

In the long run it has greatly improved our off-campus access to resources. And no more Oops! errors.  So when we go to buy a new product, one of the first things I ask is if they can be Shibboleth-authenticated – since many resources don’t play nice with EZProxy – and the stanzas change all the time.

Good luck! – Jean

Jean Sibley
Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian
William & Mary Libraries | The College of William and Mary
P: 757.221.3103 | E: bjsibley at wm.edu<mailto:bjsibley at wm.edu>

From: Eril-l [mailto:eril-l-bounces at lists.eril-l.org] On Behalf Of Dodson Donna
Sent: Thursday, November 2, 2017 2:16 PM
To: eril-l at lists.eril-l.org<mailto:eril-l at lists.eril-l.org>
Subject: [Eril-l] Switching from EZ proxy to Shibboleth/Open Athens/SAML Where do I begin?

I am in the process of researching authentication methods for our students and faculty who use our databases and ejournals on and off campus. We currently have a library consortium managed EZ Proxy but our director would like to switch to something in-house that we could manage. We fear that the EZ proxy is often serving as a barrier to the information resources we strive to make accessible to our community. Has anyone made the transition from EZ Proxy to Shibboleth/Open Athens/SAML? I would love to hear more about the process and the details- what are the new products we need to buy? Do you have preferred vendors for these new products? Did you have to work with your IT department or is it something you did yourself? Any and all comments are welcome.
Thanks in Advance!
-Donna Dodson

Donna Dodson
Electronic Resources Coordinator
Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Resources
Wadsworth Library

Mount Ida College
777 Dedham Street
Newton, MA  02459
T (617) 928-4010
E ddodson at mountida.edu<mailto:ddodson at mountida.edu>
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