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

Dominic Benson Dominic.Benson at brunel.ac.uk
Fri Nov 3 07:03:10 PDT 2017

Hi Jean,

We protect our EZproxy instance with our Shibboleth IdP as part of our integrated SSO environment. This gives us the benefit of integration at the article level via our OpenURL provider since we configure EZproxy as the authentication method, and an alternative route via Shibboleth at the publishers’ end for our millennial crowd whose default starting point off campus is Google, etc, (>60%) not our managed links.

We are quite a long way off getting direct linking for the whole of our discovery layer. If you move to OpenAthens, how will you manage article-level OpenURL linking?

Kind regards,

Dom Benson
E-resources Librarian, Library, Information Services
Brunel University London | T +44(0)1895 266143

From: Eril-l [mailto:eril-l-bounces at lists.eril-l.org] On Behalf Of Sibley, Jean J
Sent: 03 November 2017 12:32
To: Steve Oberg; eril-l
Subject: Re: [Eril-l] Switching from EZ proxy to Shibboleth/Open Athens/SAML Where do I begin?

Hi Steve, We have a hybrid situation and still have many resources that go through EZProxy. Our reason to switch was mainly due to a directive from “above” and because of some problematic databases for which EZProxy was not the best solution. We are still running an older version of EZProxy which has been especially difficult when many of our vendor sites are going to https.

With the increase in remote users I think more libraries are moving towards this type of authentication. There are advantages to it including increased security and usability. With a small staff it is not easy to be proactive and make sure all of the database stanzas are up-to-date. I don’t believe it costs any more. If you are talking about staff time – it would actually be less maintenance.

Best, Jean

From: Eril-l [mailto:eril-l-bounces at lists.eril-l.org] On Behalf Of Steve Oberg
Sent: Thursday, November 2, 2017 6:27 PM
To: eril-l <eril-l at lists.eril-l.org<mailto:eril-l at lists.eril-l.org>>
Subject: Re: [Eril-l] Switching from EZ proxy to Shibboleth/Open Athens/SAML Where do I begin?

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>

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