In London today for Identity Management Task Force - this came out of the JISC Innovation initiative and is part of the co-design process where JISC and institutions work together on projects.
This is different to previous IdM projects as it's principally about people and processes, not about the technology. It's an area that exercises many of us in IT and libraries, and unfortunately, that's often where the issues seem to lie. However, it's much wider than that. IdM is principally about access to services, which categories of staff and students have access to what. And as well as staff and students we have the category of "other" which includes retired staff, visitors, alumni, collaborators, lay members of committees etc. Even "staff" covers a multitude of categories including subsidiary staff (employed by subsidiary companies), overseas staff, honorary staff, NHS staff, Student Union staff. When you then include all the different category of student we have, you can see that putting in place policies to determine who has access to what services including systems and library resources, and then managing that, is not easy!
It's also not just an IT/library issue! it involves Human Resources and Student Services, Estates, finance, and academic colleagues. Basically, it's a University issue.
Today we were looking at interim reports of a number of projects, particularly at whether we could define categories of users, governance and awareness raising, and some initial work on usability of services. We have been part of survey of students about how they access electronic library resources, and some of the problems they encounter. Common problems include:
Multiple log ins
Being unable to download resources
Being unsure about whether a resource is available
Being stuck in redirect loops.
It was difficult to tell from these first results how many of the problems were at the institutional end, and how many at the publisher end, but this will be the subject of further work.
All of the projects are due to finish at the end of February, so watch this space for further updates.
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