Single-user access

Single-user access is something I’d like to avoid. That’s my personal opinion. Sometimes it’s necessary when access is restricted to a single concurrent user (there is a difference between single-user access and single concurrent user access). I feel that single concurrent user access is appropriate for an institution, but single-user access isn’t; clearly, we have multiple users. When I’ve noticed subscriptions with single-user access as the only online option, I’ve flagged them with the recommendation that they return to print.

But here’s a great idea: Ron, a fellow participant in the ER&L Conference, shared with me the Marshall University library’s form to access an article that is restricted to single-user access. Librarians have access to the passwords and retrieve articles for patrons.

I think this is a smart solution. Still, I look forward to a more universal offering of IP authentication by the publishing community. It’s more secure and doesn’t require library staff to take on the additional workload of retrieving articles for patrons.


3 Responses to “Single-user access”

  1. Pat Thompson Says:

    Hi Toni,
    I’ve added your blog to my reader and have been following it. I was at the ER & L Conference too. I am struggling with many of the same issues.

    For username/password access, we have set up a web page on our library website that lists all the passwords. This is for some databases as well as individual journals. The link in the library catalog (and also in the journal finder, as soon as I get it working) actually says that the resource requires a username and password, and the link goes to the web page. Then from the password page, the user can go directly to the resource.

    In order to protect the passwords, we have the page limited to view only within our network. We can’t use the proxy server for this for authorization because we can’t put an address from our own network into the proxy table. So, the passwords are only viewable from on-campus. Off-campus users have to contact the library to get the passwords.

    It’s not perfect, but it works.

    There are really only a few resources we’ve purchased that are single-user licenses. One is the Wall Street Journal Interactive edition. They do not sell an institutional license. We had some faculty members who wanted it anyway, so we bought it. I agree that publishers who won’t go with IP recognition are a pain. Even the Chronicle of Higher Education online is by username and password! We can’t really not have that.


  2. Toni Says:

    Hi Pat:

    We also considered a list of un/pw (it may still be under consideration). Thanks for sharing how you protect that information. My concern is that some sites include administrative access to the journals using those passwords (e.g. financial information, password maintenance, editing IP lists). Have you weeded those titles out?

    One of my superiors mentioned the possibility of setting up the journal’s link to fill in the un/pw information as a way to log in to the resource without the patron seeing (and then sharing with unauthorized users) the un/pw. If that ever gets put into place, I would still be concerned about sites that allow administrative access with the same un/pw.

    The Chronicle surprised me, too. We returned to a print subscription. Frankly, I think many community members/departments have their own subscriptions and the corresponding login information, but I agree that the Chronicle should offer IP access in the near future.

    Has anyone out there set up a way to automatically input the un/pw for more seamless access?


  3. Pat Says:

    Yes, I know that some of those password accounts allow users to change things. We had some trouble for a while with people changing the password for the Wall Street Journal, and then nobody else could get in. But that only happened a few times during one year, and we would call them and get it changed again. This is a small school, and I haven’t had any problems with users doing worse things. But I agree– it’s not a good situation.

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