Setting up access
How to set up access to the EPIC databases including: choosing a way to log in, getting the right URLs, filtering software, use statements and how to present the products to your users.
To set up the products, new member libraries need to consider two issues:
- Authentication - providing a log-in procedure to access the products.
- Presentation - providing the product descriptions and linking URLs through a web or Intranet page.
Existing members may want to rethink these options when local network or website changes allow, or if low usage prompts you to rethink your approach.
Your EPIC licence requires that you make sure all users are authorised to access the EPIC resources. This means you need to set up an authentication system that is recognised by the product vendors.
1. Choose your authentication method
Vendors provide a range of options for accessing their products. You need to decide which will work best for your customers, your local IT environment and the nature of your service.
This is the unique address for your computer network. Your technical support staff will be able to provide it - it will look something like: 220.127.116.11 or maybe a range of numbers: 123.123.1-26.
The vendor’s system maintains a list of accepted IP ranges. When you link to products from a computer within this IP range, it will recognise your computer as a subscriber and pass you through without a password. The IP address(es) need to be static (they mustn't change from session to session).
If your network can’t provide a static IP address, there are other options, including referring URLs. These provide access from a secure page (such as an Intranet page) that users must log into to access. The vendor can register the URL of that page and will recognise requests coming from it as from a secure and approved site. Users who try to log in from a different URL will be refused entry.
All EPIC vendors offer a range of authentication options for accessing the databases from outside your local network. These include:
Username and Password
Most vendors will allow you to assign your own user ID and passwords for accessing the databases from outside your local network.
Membership Patterned ID
This provides access via a library card or bar code number, and is the most useful method for public libraries .The vendor will register the pattern of your membership number and then recognise pattern matches when your users log in. For example, if your membership number is specified as 11 characters always beginning with ‘AB1’ you will be able to log in with AB112345678.
Using your own authentication system
Using vendor authentication means you don’t need to implement your own system. It may mean though that your customers have to authenticate more than once as they move between products. Ways to get around this include using an ILS authentication module (if available) or ‘pass-through proxy systems’ such as OCLC’s Ezproxy.
Discuss these options with your IT staff or contact vendors.
Vendor guides to authentication
More information can be found in these vendor guides:
2. Identify URL for vendor products
Once you have decided how you will log in to the databases, you need to identify the appropriate URLs to link to the vendor products for your chosen method of authentication. You may need to use distinct links for different types of authentication, for example those for your in-library access may be different from remote access URLs.
3. Notify vendors of filtering software
If your organisation uses a proxy server, firewall or any content filtering software, contact the vendor technical representatives for lists of the IP ranges and/or domain exceptions that need to be provided for. Pass these lists to your local network administrator to include in their exceptions to ensure access to the databases is not blocked.
4. Acceptable use statements
EPIC member libraries have an obligation to take reasonable precautions to limit use of the databases to that allowed by the Terms and Conditions of your agreement with the National Library of New Zealand. It is strongly recommended you display the following statement on any web/Intranet page providing access to the EPIC Resources:
“Please Note - by following these links you agree that:
These databases are protected by copyright. They are provided by [library name] for use by individuals who are registered [library name] staff and patrons for the purposes of personal use or for research in a corporate, business, academic or government setting. By accessing these databases you agree to these terms and conditions of usage. Your continued access to and usage of these databases indicates your agreement to abide by these terms and conditions."
The way you present the EPIC products to your users will influence their perceived relevance and use. People are used to the Google search experience and may find the EPIC products harder to use at first. The way you present your EPIC products can help them get past this initial hurdle.
EPIC has developed a Presentation toolkit that includes:
- Approaches to lowering the barriers to use
- Good practice in presentation within web pages and configuring e-resources
- Pointers to developing effective user guides
We also have a document that provides presentation ideas for a public library website.