Year in review. Typewriter with the word 'review'

Year in review: 2018 highlights

22 January 2019 | Jane Charlton, international marketing manager

As we’re now firmly ensconced in the new year, we thought it was a good time to review highlights in 2018 and what’s to come in 2019.

A year of focus on users

A significant driver for us was user experience and the fundamental role it plays in access to published online content.

Throughout the year, we took advantage of a number of opportunities to raise the issue. One of these included a webinar in the summer entitled ‘When bad user design becomes a barrier to content’. The webinar looked specifically at the student user journey and how single sign-on products can improve their experience.

Our 2018 conference theme ‘Championing the user’  addressed the challenges of providing users with secure, simple access to digital content. Guest speakers discussed various topics at the conference in March. These included user-centred design and measuring user access and engagement to data protection, security and piracy.

In September, we held a one-day publisher workshop in London and explored barriers users face when accessing content online. We also examined existing identity and access management technologies, future trends and the obstacles to implementation.

UX research

Our UX designer Vee Rogacheva spoke with Research Information in Obstacles to authentication. In the write up, Vee discussed the detrimental effects that complicated user journeys can have for libraries and publishers. She also emphasized the importance of prioritizing user experience.

We conducted a huge research project this year, gathering information from over 900 librarians in different sectors globally. As a result, we gained insights into current thinking on identity and access management. Findings detailed in the report highlighted the growing prevalence of mobile-based research, signalling a new era for libraries.

In October, we launched our free organisational discovery service Wayfinder at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Our service facilitates secure login just once to multiple subscribed online resources, whilst preserving user privacy. At the book fair, we had the opportunity to give a talk on Wayfinder which included a demonstration. We are committed to improving access to information for end users and Wayfinder is a step in that direction.

At the Charleston Conference in November, we co-hosted a session with InCommon entitled Why IP-based access is failing end users: How to give patrons a simple, seamless user experience. This was the first time we presented Wayfinder to an academic audience.

Highlights during the year

This year, we partnered with Minnesota-based liberal arts university Macalester College. Through the partnership we have been able to facilitate access to a wider range of information resources for their community. Macalester College also supported OpenAthens in joining the InCommon Federation as a sponsored partner. The InCommon Federation is the US education and research identity federation and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The the partnership will enable greater access to resources for other organizations in the OpenAthens community.

Our first author

In May, our lead technical pre-sales consultant Kristina Botyriute became a published author. Her open access book Access to Online Resources: A Guide for the Modern Librarian highlights issues faced by librarians today. The guide has been hugely popular with 6,000 people downloading a copy.

Commenting on the publication of the book, commercial director Jon Bentley said: “Kristina has really done some outstanding work in writing and getting this book published and we’re very supportive of her dedication and commitment.”

Our largest US customer

In March, GALILEO  signed up to a five-year agreement with EBSCO and OpenAthens to implement federated single sign-on. GALILEO is one of the largest library consortia in the US and serves around 2,000 educational organizations within the state of Georgia.

GALILEO now benefits from an authentication system that is easy to manage. With access in one place for all users, our product provides privacy protection too. Improved reporting and analysis of resource use will give GALILEO access to better, accurate data that will inform resource investment.

Representing RA21

In October we announced our representatives were accepted onto two Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21) committees. Phil Leahy, service relationship manager, joined the RA21 Steering Committee. And Jane Charlton, marketing manager, became part of the RA21 Outreach and Communications Committee.

As part of our ongoing commitment to the RA21 initiative, we continue to share our sector knowledge and experience and work with key players in the publishing industry to enable a seamless user experience.

Looking ahead to 2019

2018 was a busy and successful year for us: over 2,600 organisations now use our simple single sign-on software with a worldwide network of millions of end users and we are continuing to grow.

Merger with Jisc

At the start of 2019, Jisc, the UK’s technology solutions organisation for higher and further education, and OpenAthens’ parent company Eduserv, which specialises in digital transformation in local government, public bodies, healthcare, charities, higher education and emergency services, merged to form a unique powerhouse of world-leading expertise.

Jisc and OpenAthens’ combined skills and expertise within the trust and identity arena provide a platform to explore new technology and look for the best way possible to serve our customers together.

Library product award winner

We also brought in the new year with a platinum award in LibraryWorks’ fifth annual Modern Library Awards (MLAs). The award highlights the quality, functionality and service provided by our single sign-on software as well as the high level of support provided by our customer service team.

Annual conference

Finally, we’re looking forward to our annual conference ‘User-centred by design' on 19 March at America Square Conference Centre, London. The conference will examine our collective commitment to developing a secure, simple and seamless user journey to content. It will feature a number of high-profile speakers from across the digital media and publishing world.

Keep up-to-date on news and discussion around latest developments in identity and access management.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Year in review. Typewriter with the word 'review'

What did we achieve in 2019?

Our focus in 2019 was very much on the user experience and user-centered design. Discover some of the work we’ve done to improve user experience in this year in review.

2019 year in review