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Recently, the Office of Library Services has made improvements to the way the centrally-hosted EZproxy servers handle authentication so that they restrict expired patrons from having access to electronic resources. This issue goes beyond a single group of patrons, such as high school students. This cuts across a variety of patron groups.
Centrally-hosted EZproxy authentication originally only checked whether a barcode was valid (i.e., the five-digit institution prefix). Subsequent improvements gave us the ability to check whether or not a patron had library privileges restricted due to overdue items or fines of $5 or more.
Until a couple of weeks ago, someone who graduated school or left their job at CUNY could have ongoing access to electronic resources for years. By remaining active in the Aleph catalog (e.g., with a minor fine), the patron’s barcode was deemed valid by the authentication process.
The recent changes to the way the centrally-hosted EZproxy servers authenticate users now allow us to also check the patron’s expiration date in his/her Aleph account.
Patrons that are loaded via the automated (CUNY-wide) batch loading process automatically receive global patron accounts. Barcode are needed for remote access to e-resources via the centrally-hosted EZproxy instances. Some libraries add them manually while others add them via a batch process.
Circulation staff are trained in-house about how to manually create local patron accounts. Depending on how staff set up these account, they can be given a variety of different privilege levels, including remote access to electronic resources.
For more details on new patron registration, please speak with your Access Services Librarian. If you have questions about patrons’ remote access to e-resources, please consult with your E-Resources Librarian.
Any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to contact OLS.
If you have a centrally-hosted EZproxy instance, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of users reporting authentication problems. This is due to our exceeding our SIP* license limit thanks to the increased use of e-resources (most likely stemming from OneSearch). We are looking into requesting a new SIP2 license from Ex Libris.
Because self-checkout also relies on SIP2, libraries with automated checkout machines may notice more users reporting problems with their barcodes there, too.
While we wait for the new license from the vendor, users experiencing problems with their barcodes should wait a few minutes before trying to re-connect to the database or checkout a book using a self-checkout station.
* The SIP server is used to query the Aleph patron file with the barcode.