Session descriptions

Keynote. Our users are everywhere: librarians as strategic partners to enable global access to research

In a post-pandemic world, access to research has become increasingly global and complex. Librarians, more than ever before, play a critical role in providing access to reliable research and are relied upon as key strategic partners by publishers. In this session a librarian who recently moved to a major publisher will describe how librarian partnerships drive innovation, improve user experience, and ensure equitable and secure access for everyone.

Speaker: Emily Singley, VP North American library relations

Plenary: Key findings and recommendations from our report on library user experience

Our new report highlights library users’ most pressing difficulties and suggests actions that libraries, resource providers and others can take to improve access to quality resources and support learners and researchers better.
Many people in different regions of the world experience various problems. It is eye-opening to learn that basic things like reliable access to internet connectivity can’t be taken for granted, even in some of the world’s wealthier nations.
Join our panel session to hear about key findings from our research, what learners and researchers would like in the way of support.
Speaker: Jon Bentley, commercial director, OpenAthens

Panel debate. Why consistent user experience is essential for global research (and how to achieve it)

In the last few years library staff have been tested like never before as they adapted library services to support learners and researchers working remotely and online. Learners and researchers also had to adapt fast to keep their work on track. Our qualitative research with library end users gives us a better understanding of their motivations and workflows when doing online research and global comparisons and trends.

Our panel of invited speakers will discuss key findings from our recent library user experience report ‘Removing barriers in the search for knowledge’, including areas for improvement.

We’ll focus on how our community can take the recommendations forward to improve user experience and the research process globally.

Chair: Emma Wilson-Shaw, e-resources manager, OpenAthens


  • Ben Perry, head of user experience, Jisc
  • Chandler Christoffel, user experience librarian, University of Georgia
  • Serena Rosenhan, VP user experience design, Clarivate

Why our customers around the world value the OpenAthens customer experience

Customer experience has become one of the top business priorities. Unique and personal customer service helps to build connections and improves customer satisfaction.
While companies around the world work on a more approachable service, OpenAthens continues to lead the way with one of its most recognizable strengths; delivering a great customer experience.
Join this session to find out more about some of the initiatives we’ve been working on to put our customers first and center.
Speaker: Matt Olive, customer services manager, OpenAthens

Data trends: What does our single sign-on data tell us about user experience?

OpenAthens customers come from many different industries all over the world. Our identity products processes hundreds of millions of events over a year. We’ve been doing some work to analyse this anonymous data and what it tells us about end users, such as which browsers, devices and operating systems they use, and how that varies by location.

This helps us identify current and emerging trends in how people interact with us, allowing us to understand what is happening with learner and researcher usage now to help you prepare for the future.

In this session we’ll share the aggregated login and usage trends we’ve identified in user experience. We’ll also discuss the steps we’ve taken to assess and address the impact of upcoming cookie privacy changes.

Speaker: Andy Anderson, data analyst, OpenAthens

Unlocking the Power of Knowledge

Join us as our head of product, Dan Mayers, takes a closer look at how we’re breaking down barriers to knowledge. He’ll be diving into some of the exciting themes we’ll be exploring as we continue to enhance our product portfolio. Discover why putting users at the center of our design process is so important to us, how we’re catering to the needs of our customers worldwide, and how we’re incorporating our research findings on global library patrons into our product strategy and plans. Get ready to unlock the power of knowledge with us!

Speaker: Dan Mayers, head of product, OpenAthens

How our complete solution helps remove barriers to knowledge and future-proof the industry

Federated single sign-on (SSO) is considered to be the future of remote access to digital content and services. For over 25 years, OpenAthens has provided a simple and secure federated authentication solution to organizations worldwide. Our easy-to-manage solution also provides data and insights to support librarians decision-making around ROI, budgets and licencing. We’re an inclusive organization and our mission is to remove barriers to knowledge. We offer a managed proxy along with federated access as a complete solution, providing better support and user experience. Our complete solution combines these technologies to connect librarians to thousands of publishers and service providers. So wherever users start their journey and regardless of where the industry moves, they can rely on a future-proofed solution.


  • James Edwards, business development manager, OpenAthens
  • David Orrell, applications architect, OpenAthens

Access, interrupted? How changes in browser technology may impact researchers’ access to scholarly resources

The major browsers are working on some pretty fundamental changes to how they support access and identity on the web. These changes are driven by concerns around user privacy and meant to stop the unsanctioned tracking of users across the web. However, some browser functionalities that are used to track users, for example third-party cookies or recognition of IP addresses, are also used to support access pathways on the scholarly web – which means that it very likely that current access solutions for scholarly resources on the web will be impacted and will need to adapt to a ‘new normal’ that is currently being designed. In this brief talk, Hylke Koers will talk about these developments in general and zoom in on emerging new technologies that offer new opportunities to support federated authentication to scholarly resources in the future.

Speaker: Hylke Koers, CIO, STM Solutions and chair, SeamlessAccess outreach committee

Case study: Introducing granular usage reporting. Flexible and extendible COUNTER-level reporting for librarians

In April last year, Elsevier became the first publisher to pilot federated single sign-on powered granular usage reporting with library customers using the COUNTER standard. 10 organizations participated in the pilot globally including BASF, one of the world’s leading chemical companies that is investing in climate change sustainability.

Interest in the project came from librarians unanimous desire to optimize evidenced-based decision making and control over accessing licensed resources. This was driven by the growing importance of providing data to inform budgeting decisions and ROI assessments. It was also important for librarians to understand which resources were popular with different groups so that in-house marketing could target these resources and users effectively. Another important objective was Elsevier’s commitment to preserving end-user privacy and safeguarding personally identifiable information .

Join us for a discussion on Elsevier’s efforts to provide flexible and extendible COUNTER-level granular usage reporting which can be tailored to different needs while maintaining our commitment to responsible user privacy and security practices.

  • Nicolai Humphreys, senior product manager, Elsevier
  • Sabine Fuss, knowledge systems – digitalization of R&D and data science, global digital services, BASF
  • Heide Misler, knowledge systems – digitalization of R&D and data science, global digital services, BASF

Case study: Practical tips for implementing OpenAthens from Liberty University

In this case study, Liberty University share their experiences of transitioning from EZproxy to OpenAthens authentication, detailing the critical implementation milestones.
Electronic resource librarians and library administrators will benefit from insights in assessing and practical solutions to the challenges of implementing OpenAthens.
Specifically, they’ll provide practical guidance on implementing OpenAthens in an institution’s database page, learning management system, integrated library system. They’ll also share their troubleshooting strategies and tips for successfully communicating with key stakeholders.
Speaker: David Leffler, discovery and access librarian, Liberty University

Case study: Joining forces. Using library technologies to provide seamless access

At Georgetown University Medical Center, it’s imperative that students, faculty, researchers and clinical staff can access information resources quickly and at ‘the point of need’. The library supports nursing, medicine, health and biomedical graduate education as well as a cancer center and hospital. All of these users need to be able to connect into the library resources from anywhere, including at the bedside of patients.

In this session Linda Van Keuren at Georgetown University Medical Center, explores her library’s decision to adopt OpenAthens single sign-on and Lean Library. Linda will provide insights into how these systems work together to benefit researchers’ and medical staff’s seamless access to content. She will also explain the overall benefits to librarians in how library resources are being used.

You’ll also hear from Mark Sinclair from Lean Library, who will draw from the 2021 Librarian Futures white paper which charts librarian-patron behaviors, and highlight Lean Library’s ongoing partnership with OpenAthens.


  • Linda Van Keuren, assistant dean for resources and access management at Dahlgren Memorial Library, Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Mark Sinclair, head of development, Lean Library

Case study: Benefits of a flexible identity tool within the library ecosystem

Library goals remain, while user needs evolve. Can libraries maintain flexibility and security, with a smooth user experience without creating more work for over-stretched librarians?
This conversational session will examine how Cairn University’s seamless ecosystem revolves around identity management to support users no matter where they start their research journey.


  • Stephanie S. Kaceli, Dean, Educational Resources & Director of Masland Library, Cairn University
  • William Elwell, Authentication Specialist, EBSCO

Case study: Better Open Access discovery and access using article level intelligence

The number of Open Access articles available in hybrid journals is increasing. Yet limitations of link-resolvers makes discovering and linking to this content difficult. This presentation, focusing on the experience NHS England libraries, will discuss how article-level intelligence helps libraries expand collections, improve discovery, and enable better access to Open Access articles in hybrid journals and more.


  • John Seguin, president and co-founder, Third Iron
  • Alan Fricker, knowledge & library hub manager, directorate of innovation, transformation and digital, Health Education England


Best publisher UX award 2023 winner

Join us for the announcement of the Best publisher UX award 2023 winner.

Our award for best publisher user experience puts the spotlight on those publishers that strive to put their users at the heart of their service design with the simple aim of giving users easy access to their content.

The award builds on our ongoing commitment to drive forward innovation in the information industry and to make access to knowledge as easy as possible for end users.

Speaker: Jane Charlton, international marketing manager and the Award Winner