Academic research databases have become the preferred way for students to access high-quality academic literature in a variety of subject areas. Since students conduct research both at school and at home, off-campus access is essential.
Historically, independent schools have provided off-campus access through either terminal services or individual user accounts for each research source. The first method is technically challenging for users to reliably access. The second requires library staff to keep multiple sets of student accounts up-to-date on an increasing number of external systems.
For a number of years, university libraries have used EZproxy to provide off-campus access to large student bodies. This week, we have launched this service at our school. As the name suggests, EZproxy provides alternate URLs to pages that load and display research database content to authenticated users. To the student, the result is seamless. They click on the research database link and access the resources. However, if you look at the URL at the top of the screen, you can see the work that is happening behind the scenes. In many ways, this is the ideal BYOD solution, infrastructure sophistication that simplifies the user experience. The service is further reduces barriers to already heavily used resources.
EZproxy is a service of OCLC, “a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large.”