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"Why can't I get to the full text?" Accessing library resources during a pandemic

"Why can't I get to the full text?" Accessing library resources during a pandemic

Presented on August 13th, 2020 as part of Elsevier's Library Connect webinar series: "Librarian best practices ensure uninterrupted access to research and education." (https://libraryconnect.elsevier.com/articles/webinar-librarian-best-practices-ensure-uninterrupted-access-research-and-education) Discusses how federated access permitted students to more readily access library electronic resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, after the library closed and students were working remotely from off-campus. Will be of interest to electronic resources librarians, systems librarians, and those interested in UX, IP access, alternatives to EZProxy, federated authentication, Shibboleth, InCommon, and SeamlessAccess.

Emily Singley

August 04, 2020

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  1. “Why can’t I get to the full text?” accessing library

    resources during a pandemic Emily Singley @emilysingley Boston College, USA August, 2020
  2. Our pandemic • All students and faculty sent home mid-March

    2020 • All courses went fully online
  3. 99% 1% E-resource and print usage E-journals and E-books (BR1,

    JR1) Print circulations Boston College libraries • 8 libraries • 3.2M volumes • 42K subscribed resources
  4. Existing infrastructure • IP access (EZProxy) • VPN • Shibboleth

    • InCommon federation • Federated access not implemented for most library vendors (exception: Elsevier)
  5. User experience pre-pandemic: Direct IP access (~80%) On-campus user navigates

    directly to resource, e.g. jstor.org Because IP is recognized, user has immediate full subscription access
  6. User experience pre-pandemic: EZproxy (~10-20%) 1. User finds a resource

    on the library website 3. On-campus user is not prompted to login and has full access 2. Clicks on a proxied link: https://proxy.bc.edu/login?url=jstor.org
  7. User experience pre-pandemic: Federated access (~3%) user navigates directly to

    resource, e.g. sciencedirect.com signs in using institutional credentials (federated access)
  8. User experience during pandemic off-campus user navigates directly to resource,

    e.g. nature.com IP is not recognized; user hits paywall
  9. User experience during pandemic - Elsevier off-campus user navigates directly

    to resource, e.g. sciencedirect.com signs in using institutional credentials; has full access to content
  10. EBSCO usage during pandemic (not federated) 82775 5912 7974 5743

  11. How we communicated with users • Website featured instructions for

    remote access • Librarians communicated frequently with faculty • Librarians worked closely with educational technologists to optimize online courses
  12. Challenges for our students • Students are used to being

    able to go straight to a resource • Once off-campus, they did not understand what had changed • Usage stats as well as problem reports showed that many failed to access resources
  13. Lessons learned • Focused too much on improving access to

    physical resources (scanning, curbside pickup, ILL, etc.) • Assumed students knew how to get to online resources using library links • Needed to communicate more and better • Need more vendors accessible through institutional login
  14. What’s next…getting ready for Fall • 33% of our e-resources

    vendors are now both federated and IP access (approx. 200 out of 600 vendors) • Used OpenAthens service through EBSCO to accomplish this quickly • Librarians continue to be embedded in online course creation • More outreach to faculty and students • Teaching librarians about federated access
  15. SeamlessAccess.org • NISO-supported initiative to improve UX for federated access

    • The same “Access through your institution” button appears across participating vendor sites • Users stay logged in across vendors during their browser session