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Web Access Management

Coordinator:
Hilary Newman, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
Presenters:
Dirk Klingner, Pace University
Susan DiRenzo, College of Mount Saint Joseph
Web Site:
http://www.msj.edu/library/direnzo
http://library.pace.edu/wam


Hilary Newman began by describing the Web Access Management Product. It is designed to control access to remote web servers. It can protect licensed databases while allowing access to valid remote users. It also is designed to collect statistics concerning these databases. Access can be controlled by service level of the patron, which is set up by IP address log in. Patrons coming to the library can be sent to one IP address while those logging in remotely can be sent to another IP address. It can also be controlled by patron verification by asking for the patron name and barcode or PIN. Access can further be controlled by patron type. This is a relatively new enhancement. A combination of the above can also be used.

Remote servers limit their access by IP address. The library creates a table of remote servers and then creates an HTML link to those remote servers. Patrons then connect to the link and they are verified. It is a forwarding server. (It is technically not a proxy server.) HTML links are created on a Web server. This can be the INNOPAC but does not have to be. When a patron connects to the link, they are forwarded back to the INNOPAC and run through the table. The INNOPAC manual goes into detail about how to set up the table and how to create the links. (INNOPAC Manual record #17155) The WebPAC is a prerequisite to have the Web Access Management because it runs off that server.

There is forward service report created which give statistics by patron type, by database and by date and time. The statistics are kept until cleared. It is the typical graphical web interface, which gives pie charts, bar graphs and tables. They are easily downloaded into a spreadsheet.

New enhancements include the ability to restrict access by patron type, an increase in the number of tokens from 10 to 50 and an automatic reminder notice, which tells you to restart the web server after making any changes.

Dirk Klingner reported that Pace University uses Web Access Management to provide access to commuting students and faculty who connect to the library remotely. The frustrations encountered by these patrons included difficulty in dialing into the system, long distance charges and the cryptic message “403 forbidden”. The solution to these problems was Web Access management. The advantages they found in this product were that they had a pre-existing patron database, security, and there was no programming or scripting required. It was easy to implement. The problems encountered at the beginning were that it was not as easy as they had thought, there were broken images and sometimes blocking from resources. These problems were solved. Most problems now come up when a new database is loaded. There is no distinct finish line. It is a continual process.

Susan DiRenzo reported that the College of Mount Saint Joseph has a considerable commuting population as well as an extensive evening and weekend program. Most of their patrons wanted to be able to log on to the resources of the library via the web rather than using telnet. They did have a remote access service for a while. It was very small with only 6 modems and they found it was not enough. They chose Web Access Management because it was easy to use and inexpensive. Their tech support staff is small and slow. The support for Web Access is supplied by Innovative, which helped. The prospect of having no software to download by the user and no extra cost for the user made this product attractive.

While Pace University has 2 links for each database, one for on campus and one for off campus, The College of Mount Saint Joseph’s has one link for each database. This is controlled by log in names and groups and limiting access by http. The one link will pass on campus patrons right through and will require a log in for off campus patrons. The benefit of the one link is that it is less confusing to the patron and the page is neater. The problems are port usage and connection problems. The log in group (contention group) controls the port usage by staff, library patrons, and on and off campus users. Log in groups also provide statistics, which can be monitored. In order to limit access to faculty, staff and students the College of Mount Saint Joseph’s used the “request” feature. If this is turned on then you will be able to log in.


Recorded by: Jan Marotta, Ashland University

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