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

Wallwork, Todd tmwallwork at ua.edu
Fri Nov 3 08:49:47 PDT 2017

We operate very similarly to you guys Steve especially with our relations with campus IT who manages our servers. That works fairly well for us.  We’ve found that keeping a close working relationship with our E-Resources staff has also been highly beneficial to keep our stanzas up-to-date.  In addition, we have a current project going to completely review and renew our EZproxy config file to make sure that we are on the most up-to-date stanzas.  We had fallen behind on that but want to make that a priority to minimize issues for our patrons.  This is all mostly done on the periphery of our other work and doesn’t take up to much time for us.

Local practices and needs definitely vary and it’s interesting and useful to see how others are handling these issues.



Todd Wallwork | Systems and Technical Services Librarian / Assistant Professor
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Resource Acquisition & Discovery
The University of Alabama<https://www.ua.edu/>
Gorgas Library 400C
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Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone 205-348-3251<tel:205-348-3251> | Fax 205-348-6358<tel:205-348-6358>
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From: Eril-l [mailto:eril-l-bounces at lists.eril-l.org] On Behalf Of Steve Oberg
Sent: Friday, November 3, 2017 9:22 AM
To: 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?

Thanks, Jean, I understand things better now in terms of your local environment.

To focus on one aspect of the issue, local control vs. paying for a service...It’s an age old question without an easy answer.

In our case, we are not well staffed and we have to weigh this question carefully with just about everything we do. But because e-resources access and authentication are so important, I prefer local control so that we can respond quickly. We are fortunate to have direct control over EZproxy within my area. It’s something I advocated for after coming here.

We don’t expend a significant amount of time managing EZproxy, really. Our central IT people, with whom we have a close relationship, manage the servers and upgrades. We do the rest. Most of the changes are handled by a staff person.  I realize this looks different depending upon your institutional context.

There are ways in which keeping EZproxy config stanzas current can be challenging but we worked out methods to do that. It’s not hard. And the community of users is great. That makes a big difference. I learn new stuff from them all the time.


On Nov 3, 2017, at 7:31 AM, Sibley, Jean J <bjsibley at wm.edu<mailto:bjsibley at wm.edu>> wrote:

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
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