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

Melissa Belvadi mbelvadi at upei.ca
Fri Nov 3 05:47:53 PDT 2017

I just saw a presentation about Open Athens at a recent conference and one
aspect of it struck me as being of great value added. That is, for most of
our major vendors, like Proquest, EBSCO, Wiley, ScienceDirect, etc., whose
platforms include enhanced features if the user bothers to make a "My
Research" type of local account on that platform, apparently Open Athens in
effect does that for them, so the user has immediate access to those
features without having to keep track of a different username/password
login for each platform.  That's the real "single sign on" value of Open

There was also discussed the value of having the Open Athens people
basically handle all of the security aspects, so we wouldn't have to deal
with the publishers who block our proxy server every time one of our user's
passwords gets hacked an abused (think SciHub).  Supposedly OA acts as an
intermediary to deal with a lot of this for us and their software can
actually prevent a lot of it from happening in the first place in ways that
ezproxy can't.

Did I misunderstand? Are there any Open Athens sites out there who can
speak more to these features?

Melissa Belvadi
Collections Librarian
University of Prince Edward Island
mbelvadi at upei.ca 902-566-0581
my public calendar

On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 7:27 PM, Steve Oberg <steve.oberg at wheaton.edu> wrote:

> 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
> 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>
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