OpenAthens simplifies access to library resources
Founded in 1969, the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) is one of Israel’s major academic institutions with over 5,000 students on three campuses. The College specializes in high-tech engineering, industrial management, business administration, and life and health sciences. JCT’s mission is to produce highly-skilled professionals for Israel’s rapidly developing industries who possess a strong commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel. Dedicated to strengthening Jerusalem and responding to Israel’s socio-economic needs, JCT empowers diverse segments of Israeli society — who would otherwise not have access to higher education — to become contributing members of Israel’s workforce.
To support the research needs of 5,000 students and faculty members, through the four libraries in the 3 campuses, the university library maintains a robust collection containing 45,000 print volumes; 500 e-books; 500 periodicals, and subscriptions to more than 50,000 e-journals via database. The library also subscribes to a variety of databases including MEDLINE Complete, Business Source Premier, and CINAHL Plus with Full Text.
Recently, to improve remote access to its resources and improve its ability to capture accurate usage statistics, the library purchased OpenAthens through EBSCO.
Prior to purchasing OpenAthens, Jerusalem College of Technology used VPN/Proxy system to grant access to the library’s resources. However, the system became sluggish over the years, and it became difficult to access databases, long page-load times created frustration and uncertainty for library users. Plus, users were getting out of the databases many times.
“We knew that we had a problem with the VPN/Proxy system, and we tried to solve it, but it was not possible. We needed something new to provide a positive experience for users,” said Janna Gorelick, Library Manager at Jerusalem College of Technology.
In addition, it was very difficult to obtain usage statistics. The library didn’t have a way to look at statistics without asking IT.
Gorelick said that as soon as they understood they needed a new system to offer a streamlined user experience, she asked her colleagues in other libraries in Israel which product they were using. All of them answered OpenAthens and were very happy about the product and the fast and brilliant support provided by EBSCO.
“We already subscribed to several EBSCO Databases for many years, so it was quite natural to add another resource. Plus, we have a good relationship with the local team made of hard workers. We purchased OpenAthens in January 2022, and the implementation project started in February” said Gorelick.
Benefits & Results
Now, users will not waste their time logging in to resources. After the first log-in through a QR code provided by the library, users can easily access all databases without being rejected or making multiple logins.
A result of this easier workflow is an increase in database usage. Gorelick said “students are accessing more often to databases from home because they saw it is easy! Plus, the library is receiving fewer emails related to issues with opening documents. This is great because librarians can now focus on other activities.”
August and September are quiet periods for students; however, since October, Gorelick showed a big increase in statistics. Now, there are 500 new users, and every day there are around 40 unique users with 10-20 new users. The big season is at the end of the year, Gorelick explained that they expect those numbers will double by the end of the year.
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