A significant majority of the scholarly literature and related tools and services that libraries provide to their users must be licensed from third parties and the license agreements obligate libraries to ensure that only entitled users can access these resources.  In doing so, libraries must be able to identify the user attempting to access the electronic resource, and then to determine if that user is entitled to access. These two steps are commonly known as authentication (identifying the user) and authorization (determining that user’s access permissions).

In this paper, Sunshine Carter and Cody  Hanson provide an overview of common authentication and authorization mechanisms used in academic libraries for academic library staff. The goal is to provide staff with a basic understanding of terms and concepts so that they are better positioned to contribute to conversations with their colleagues, engage in negotiations for licensed resources, and inform users about how their information is used.

Access the White Paper: Electronic Resource Authentication and Authorization [PDF] by Sunshine Carter and Cody Hanson, 2022.

A webinar was held reviewing this white paper on June 8, 2022. Access the recording: