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Re: Non-IP Based Institutional Subscriptions?
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Re: Non-IP Based Institutional Subscriptions?
- From: Becki Whitaker <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2001 20:00:30 EST
- Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sender: email@example.com
Paula, Yes, INCOLSA's INSPIRE service uses digital certificates for those folks who don't have Indiana specific IP addresses. If you want to see what the process looks like, you can see our procedure for the certificates at www.inspire.net. However, only Indiana folks can successfully request and receive a certificate so please do not attempt to request one unless you are from Indiana. So, how well do they work? I think most of the INSPIRE staff feels that at this time digital certificates are still a necessary evil. First a little background; INSPIRE is a service for the citizens of Indiana wherever they may be: home, school, office, library, etc. To complicate matters we have unserved areas of population that have no public library access. (Public libraries in Indiana rely on local funding so having a public library or not is up to the local community. But, since INSPIRE does receive state funding for databases, it must serve all citizens of the state.) The majority of the INSPIRE authentication is done by IP addresses. But we have always had, and see an increasing trend towards, dynamic, non-geographic restricted IP addresses by some of our ISPs. Given that, we need to have a system that will allow our citizens access, whether or not they have a public, school or academic library. The digital certificate does allow this. However, there are several problems with digital certificates. First, it is a two step processs with three to five intervening days, depending on the mail. While mailing the password that allows downloading of the certificate lets us use the zip code for Indiana residency verification, those intervening days can prohibit access on demand. For example, we have to train teachers to tell their students to plan and to get INSPIRE authenticated long before the term paper is due. There is some staff time involved daily in getting the mailers which print overnight, processed and in the mail. This is fairly insignificant, just a routine that must be done. We make no attempt to capture data from the mailers. The certification application will only accept Indiana zip codes, providing the authentication screening. There are also technical considerations such as Netscape and IE looking an acting differently during the loading procedure. AOL is the most problematic, requiring all filtering to be turned off and re-booting after the download. These considerations make for cumbersome instructions. One of our tasks for first quarter 2002 is a serious re-write of the instructions on the INSPIRE web site. In sum, our user support desk says the vast majority of the questions it gets are about certificates at about an 8 to 1 ratio over the next category. We continue to look for alternatives that might provide more timely responses and/or more flexibility for INSPIRE users. We have asked our information system department to help us look into alternatives, perhaps a combination of short-lived passwords and the digital certificate. We are not sure. We do know that we want to provide quicker access for the patron with an immediate information need. We need to work around the problem of the unserved citizen. And, we need to be aware of costs and resources. So, if you find or use another solution, please share it with us. Becki Whitaker Information Retrieval Specialist INCOLSA 6202 Morenci Trail Indianapolis, IN 46268-2536 317-298-6570 / fax: 317-387-7442 / firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.incolsa.net / http://www.inspire.net "Paula N. Arnold" wrote: > Does anyone use digital certificates? > > Paula Arnold > Ingenta Inc. > Cambridge, MA 02138