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

Wallwork, Todd tmwallwork at ua.edu
Fri Nov 3 08:35:39 PDT 2017

I would also love to hear more from OpenAthens sites as well.  We’re interested in OpenAthens partly due to the increased reporting it seems to provide in conjunction with other EBSCO products we currently use.


Todd Wallwork | Systems and Technical Services Librarian / Assistant Professor
[Divider line]
Resource Acquisition & Discovery
The University of Alabama<https://www.ua.edu/>
Gorgas Library 400C
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone 205-348-3251<tel:205-348-3251> | Fax 205-348-6358<tel:205-348-6358>
tmwallwork at ua.edu<mailto:tmwallwork at ua.edu>
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[The University of Alabama]<https://www.ua.edu/>

From: Eril-l [mailto:eril-l-bounces at lists.eril-l.org] On Behalf Of Melissa Belvadi
Sent: Friday, November 3, 2017 7:48 AM
To: Steve Oberg <steve.oberg at wheaton.edu>
Cc: eril-l <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 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 Athens.

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<mailto:mbelvadi at upei.ca> 902-566-0581
my public calendar<http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=mbelvadi%40upei.ca&ctz=America/Halifax&mode=week>

On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 7:27 PM, Steve Oberg <steve.oberg at wheaton.edu<mailto: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 Oberg
Assistant Professor and Group Leader for Resource Description and Digital Initiatives
Buswell Library, Wheaton College (IL)
+1 (630) 752-5852<tel:(630)%20752-5852>

President, NASIG<http://www.nasig.org>

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