Changes to LibAccess

Submitted by libaskeyd on
Filed under Library News:  e-Resources

Among the core services that academic libraries operate for their campuses is a software solution that enables off-campus access for faculty, students, and staff to online content licensed through the library. This content consists of journals, databases, data resources, and books critical to the university's research, teaching, and learning. At McMaster, this service has been typically known by its branded name LibAccess. The University Library operates the service, but it supports both UL and Health Sciences Library users.

The Libraries' contracts with commercial content providers stipulate that we restrict access to our own community, which necessitates having a system in place where users must provide a university-issued credential--at McMaster the MAC ID--to gain access. In addition to the MAC ID, at McMaster it has been possible to use an alternative set of credentials, typically referred to as a LibAccess account. While allowing this second method to exist resolved some minor access hurdles for a small group, over time it has proven to create issues around ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to licensed content. In order to better meet our contractual obligations as well as to provide more robust and stable off-campus access to our users, we are adopting two changes in how we authenticate users.

These changes will have no impact on current students, faculty, and staff who have a valid MAC ID.

Effective January 1, 2015, anyone who has a MAC ID but is not a direct McMaster University employee or student--typically, these are clinical faculty and others affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences--will not be able to access library resources from beyond campus unless the administrator of their program provides the Health Sciences Library with their MAC ID and verifies their affiliation. We will check all MAC IDs used to access library resources against a "whitelist" of such MAC IDs as well as against the information in the university persons database (which contains all current staff, students, and faculty). Any MAC ID not verified by one of these two sources will be denied access.

Effective July 1, 2015, we will cease using the alternative LibAccess credentialing system, and all such existing accounts will be terminated. It is incumbent upon individuals currently using LibAccess accounts to contact their department or program in order to apply for a MAC ID. As of this date, the MAC ID will be the only acceptable credential for off-campus access to library content. Concurrent with this change we will retire the LibAccess branding, referring instead to this service by the descriptive name "off-campus access."

Please address any questions or concerns to:

University Library: Dale Askey

Health Sciences Library: Jennifer McKinnell