Web-based Databases as Tools for Students, Faculty, and Library Staff

Authentication and Access Issues

  1. Service provider options: authenticate via IP, username/password, Referer URL, or some kind of token or digital certificate.

  2. Library should select the provider option that best integrates with the local technological environment.

  3. Library needs to take additional steps to authenticate its remote users for access to service providers.

  4. If using provider's IP authentication, a proxy server can authenticate local users for remote access:

    1. system capabilities (patron, library)

    2. trouble shooting technical difficulties

    3. coping with evolving systems

    4. problems with ID validation, Internet providers, web browser settings, operating systems, firewalls, etc.

  5. If using provider's username/password, how will this be protected from general access?

  6. If using Referer URL, library must develop script which is protected by a local authentication mechanism.

  7. If using tokens or digital certificates, coordination between local and remote systems may be complex and may require remote users to set up authentication software on their machines.

  8. Library staff education

  9. Patron education

  10. Problems with currency (intentional delays) - the "Nature" example.

  11. Quantity and quality of coverage provided by aggregators.

    What % of each journal is covered?
    What % of journals carried are full-text?
    How do the aggregators handle tables and graphs?
    How frequently is material updated?
    Is new material loaded in a timely manner? ... before it appears in print?
    Stability of publisher contracts.  Does the material offered remain constant?
    Does the degree of coverage vary by subject?

Use Issues

  1. Awareness -- Are university students, faculty, administrators, and library staff aware of:

    1. existence of these new resources (Newsletter, UNI-Online, Library Instruction)

    2. how to access and search/retrieve articles from these journals on campus and off (Library Instruction - advertised via UNI-Online and on the Library Home Page).

    3. which journals and which issues are available

    4. the costs of subscriptions, copyright restrictions - keep faculty and administrators aware of the crisis in scholarly communication 

    5. library computing needs

      1. more server hardware and software

      2. more bandwidth

      3. more workstations - printers

      4. maintenance

  2. Communication between the Library and the User Community

    1. Role of IT department head in the library and on campus

    2. Communication with campus Information Technology Services

    3. Participation in university committees

    4. Student participation in expenditure of student computing fees

    5. Surveying the user community

  3. Measuring Success --- E-Metrics (ARL)

    1. How many journals does the library offer/provide access to?

    2. How often are these journals used?

    3. Positive feedback from students and faculty.

Comments: Jerry V. Caswell or Chris Neuhaus
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
1227 W. 27th St., Cedar Falls, IA 50613-3675
URL: http://www.uni.edu/~caswell/klg/klgwebdb.htm
Revised: 21 May 2002