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Re: Authorized Users Question

At FCLA, we authenticate users by either IP address or by patron ID for
both our telnet and web services (see  We map the
domains for the 10 universities in the Florida State University System.
If there is a match, we pass the user through to the service, whether it
be our own or one to which we gateway.  If the IP address is not an
SUS address, we ask the users to provide their patron IDs which we then
authenticate through our circulation system patron files.  We have the
good fortune to be running a central system which contains the patron
records for all SUS faculty, staff and students and can, thus, confirm
that they are current, valid users.  If there is a match, we can route
the user to the service.

In either case, we prefer to use the webscripting capability used by
RLIN's Eureka and OCLC FirstSearch services (and also adopted by
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts at our urging) so that we can route all
our users through confidential, scripted logons unique to each university
which enables us and the vendors to provide institution-specific usage
data.  For these services, the vendor trusts us to do all the user
authentication and does no IP mapping itself.  However, when a vendor
isn't willing to adopt this method of access, we can only offer the
service to on-campus users.

As our universities move towards outsourcing their student IP services
because of fiscal constraints and as more emphasis is placed on distance
learning, more and more of our users are required to access their library
services from non-university domains.  An authentication process such
as we provide is an absolute requirement for any of these services or a
large segment of our user population will become disenfranchised.  Remote
access is now imperative.  We are frustrated by services that have made
the access process so difficult that easy scripting of logons is almost
impossible.  I won't name any names here, but some of you probably know
a few of your own.

  --Michele Newberry
Michele Newberry
Assistant Director for Library Services               352/392-9020
Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA)      fax 352/392-9185
2002 NW 13th Street, Suite 320       
Gainesville, FL 32609         
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