User journey

The user experience of OpenAthens depends on the journey the user takes and the organization-specific setup.

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How does it work?

Depending on your requirements, OpenAthens can be configured to work in parallel with your existing on-site authentication system. By doing so, your users will use OpenAthens only when they access library resources remotely.

Alternatively, you could choose to implement OpenAthens as the only access management method. This means users will be prompted to login on and off-site. The benefit of that type of implementation is that it will give you an accurate view of resource usage, all recorded and visualized by OpenAthens.

In any case, users will trigger an OpenAthens session the first time they are asked to authenticate. The session lasts for 8 hours before there is a need to authenticate again.

The journey to content

Depending on users preferred research practices and institutional setup there are different ways they could start an OpenAthens session:

  1. Signing in to your institutional laptop or computer

    Depending on your set up signing in to your Chromebook or the workstation in your library can trigger an OpenAthens session.

  2. Starting at the library portal

    Logging into the library portal will start an OpenAthens session. This will still be active even if you continue your research via Google.

  3. Starting at the learning management system

    In many cases, your learning management system will require you to log in. This is enough to start an OpenAthens session.

  4. Starting at your favorite resource home page

    Navigate your way to your favorite online resource platform. The experience on the different platforms can vary but on some of the most popular platforms, you will have an option to log in with OpenAthens. Select your institution from a list and enter your institutional username and password.

    Some platforms may ask you to select your federation when logging in, so please select OpenAthens Federation if needed.

  5. Starting with Google or Google Scholar

    If you haven’t authenticated already you can do so after your Google search. You will be able to access any resource in the search results as long as your library subscribes to it. To access the resource you will need to select ‘login with OpenAthens’, select your institution from the list, and enter your institutional username and password.

    The disadvantage of this method is that you may come across a resource that your library does not subscribe to. In that case, OpenAthens will not allow access.

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