Library shelf

The benefits of an integrated library system

15 August 2022 • Lauren Harding, senior marketing officer

Libraries benefit from different systems that complement and work alongside each other. OpenAthens is designed to integrate with other existing library systems and directories. Benefits include improved user experience for students, researchers and staff. It also gives educational establishments access to data that can positively impact their learning outcomes.

Many organizations have set up their own instances of platforms and applications that have SAML access management protocols built into the system. SAML is a form of online security that allows users to access multiple web applications using only one set of login credentials.

Even if a system is not listed on our docs or we have not previously integrated with a system or directory, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. We will always be on hand to help integrating with the library systems or directories your institution may have in place.

Integration with third party apps

Our service enables organizations to establish a single sign-on connection into various apps and services, including but not limited to:
Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Office 365, Browzine, LeanLibrary, TDNet one discover, ExLibris – Alma/Primo, EBSCO EDS, Summon, SFX, Moodle, Blackboard, FOLIO, KOHA, WorldShare.

Integration with local directories

Our service enables organizations to establish connections to sign in to OpenAthens with various products using existing organisational credentials, including but not limited to:
Microsoft Azure, Google Workspace, Shibboleth, CAS, OKTA, Ping Identity, SirsiDynix,- Symphony, KOHA.

Creating a seamless user experience

Another key benefit of an integrated library system is that they are extremely efficient and create a seamless user experience. OpenAthens operates seamlessly in the background.
Users spend less time and effort learning how to navigate multiple systems. A single set of sign-on credentials for multiple applications reduces the number of failed password and locked accounts. Students, researchers and staff no longer need to worry about requesting password reminders and account resets for multiple systems. Simplifying access to resources increases accuracy of usage reporting. This helps the library realise the value in their subscriptions, if users can’t access a resource the library won’t be able to see the value

We spoke to Theo Stubbs, Digital Librarian at Leeds Arts University about the benefits of an integrated library system:

The main benefit to students is the fact that a barrier to access has been removed. Learning how to use OpenAthens isn’t a concern for students anymore as it operates seamlessly in the background. A single set of sign-on credentials ensures the student experience is consistent, improving overall user experience. The analytics portal is easy to use and we have noticed the number of failed authentications drop significantly. Previous student engagement surveys reported struggles accessing electronic resources, this is no longer the case.

Theo Stubbs - Digital Librarian - Leeds Arts University

Making the librarians job easier

Integrating library systems also brings benefits for the librarian. It eliminates the need to manage multiple access routes and manually manage multiple login credentials, saving time and effort. A seamless user journey will reduce the number queries from users that can’t login. Our integration enables the librarian to use the same system to build a consistent user journey. Ensuring any links out from your sites and services utilise the Redirector, provides a consistent form of linking to resources. This can be used in conjunction with a link resolver.


Our integration with library systems also helps improve the learning environment and exam systems within libraries and institutions. For example, our reporting tool enables librarians to have an early indication of student engagement and retention on sites such as Google Classroom, Blackboard and Moodle. With our reporting tool you can also see what services are most used and how often. If the library wants to see how many users are making the most of the integrated system, OpenAthens can create reports to demonstrate usage.

Microsoft Azure AD integration. Network servers - integrate systems