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Elsevier e-journals - bye bye IP access ; hello username password:(

A few days ago, we received a complaint from one of our faculty members
that access to the Journal of the Franklin Institute on Elsevier was no
longer working - the site was asking for a username/password.  
Previously, we had registered for IP access, and it worked well.  It is
still working well for our other Elsevier titles.

Our Acquisitions staff contacted Elsevier, who returned the appended
e-mail, which was our first indication that they have decided to eliminate
IP-access control to all individual e-journal titles - only
username/password control will be available.  We are still awaiting
clarification and further details.  Hopefully we will have some idea of
how this will be set up before the change is implemented on the other 106
titles we have.  Regarding the specific title above, they are not
accepting "new" registrations right now, so our faculty member is out of

I wanted to raise this here for several reasons:

1 - I do not recall seeing anything about this change anywhere else
(although I may have missed an e-mail posting).  Is Elsevier implementing
this change worldwide, or just here in Asia?  We have had some previous
experiences with publishers who experimented with different practices
here, before moving them on to the US market.

2 - Does anyone have more details of how Elsevier will be setting this up?  
We have asked these questions of Elsevier, but have not yet received any
information beyond the e-mail appended below.  For example:

   -Does the new username/password scheme mean that Elsevier will now
    permit access by authorized institutional users from off-campus
    (anywhere in the world)?

   -Can there be an institutional username/password, or will each user
    be required to have their own?

   -Will the information be stored in a cookie to ease future access
    (and complicate confidentiality on public-access machines)?

3 - It seems to me from their e-mail that one of the goals of this change
is to try to force institutional subscribers to come up with extra money
to subscribe to their ScienceDirect product - something which will be very
difficult for many to do in this part of the world.  Am I being
overly-adversarial in this outlook?

4 - I had previously been very encouraged by what I saw as the growing
trend in the online data market towards IP-access control as one of the
available options.  I perceive user-names and passwords to be an
impediment to access - although a sometimes necessary option for
off-campus access, distance learning, or for institutions which do not
have assigned IP classes (I prefer proxy server solutions, but they have
many difficulties).  Is this trend reversing?

5 - With the increase in data aggregators, and in resource linkages, how
can we ease this burden for our users?  It is simple enough to add an
access script which pops up a page to tell our users what the current
institutional username/password for a title/vendor is - but only if they
are accessing through our script/page.  They won't see this in their
bookmarks.  And what about the full-text linkages the Web of Science?  
And the similar upcoming linkages in the Ovid system?  These are links
that take the user directly from a citation in a (currently) IP-access
controlled database to the full-text of the article at the publisher's
site.  So our researchers will search on Ovid or Web of Science, and
follow the link to the full-text, and be asked for a username/password
which they may not know; and they may not understand why.

I don't have answers.  Like most of you I try to read the future in my
spare time while struggling to provide the best access and service to our
university community.  Perhaps some of you have more information about
Elsevier's move, and/or some ideas I have not thought of on how to smooth
the way for our users.


Edward Spodick, Systems Librarian
Hong Kong university of Science & Technology

- - - begin forwarded message - - -

From: "Knight, Graham (ELS)" <G.Knight@elsevier.nl>
To: "'Chan Yat Wah'" <lbwah@ust.hk>
Subject: RE: URGENT: Online access problem
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 09:49:55 +0100

Dear Chan Yat Wah,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding on-line access.

Please be advised that the access control system for the Electronic
Journals is being upgraded. The new system is due to be operational later
this month. Once this system is up and running, all users (including
previously IP access registered users) will be prompted to choose their
own username and password.  This means, that in the meantime, new
customers cannot be registered or register themselves for access to the
approximately 250 electronic journals currently available. The new system
will no longer rely on IP verification, but on user name and password.
This will allow users to also access their institute's journals from
outside their network e.g. from home.

More information about the system upgrade can be found at URL :

However, if you have a specific need for IP access, the alternative we can
offer is either ScienceDirect or the Web-editions.  Both ScienceDirect and
the Web-editions offers full text access to approximately 1000 journals.

I am CCing Ms Lee Pui Lee and her colleague Ms Agatha Pang of our sales
office in Singapore, who will be able to inform you fully of which product
suits your institute best.  In the meantime, if you have any questions
regarding these products (functionality, technical specifications, etc.),
please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Best wishes,

Graham Knight
Elsevier Science bv
Web Product Support Unit
PO Box 211
1000 AE Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 485.3650
Fax : +31 20 485.3432
E-mail: g.knight@elsevier.nl

- - - end forwarded message - - -
- - - - -
Edward F Spodick, Systems Librarian - lbspodic@ust.hk
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Library
tel:  852-2358-6743     fax:  852-2358-1043