Step 4: Add OpenAthens Wayfinder

OpenAthens Wayfinder is our institutional discovery which makes it easy for learners and researchers to access your platform using their institutional credentials.

students using laptop

Wayfinder options

OpenAthens Wayfinder is our institutional discovery service. It is implemented on the publisher or service provider platform and allows users to find and select the institution they are affiliated with. Once the institution is selected the user is redirected to the institution’s authentication point.

Institutions listed in Wayfinder don’t need to be a member of the OpenAthens Federation.

All Wayfinder options are in line with the NISO-approved RA21 recommended practices and promote consistent user experience across platforms.

  • List item tick icon Embedded Wayfinder provides superior user experience and is only available to OpenAthens Keystone customers. It requires some change to your platform introducing a standard login button or an embedded institutional search box.
  • List item tick icon Hosted Wayfinder is free for anyone to use and does not require changes to your platform's interface.

Comparison of features

Click & drag


    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      Remembers the user’s choice of institution

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      Searches across federations

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      RA21 aligned

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      On site user experience

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      Free

      Both embedded Wayfinder options, the button and the search box are included in the Keystone subscription.


    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      Remembers the user’s choice of institution

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      Searches across federations

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      RA21 aligned

    • A cross indicating this feature is unavailable

      On site user experience

    • A tick indicating this feature is available

      Free

      Hosted Wayfinder is available to all publishers and service providers to use. Our documentation provides information on how to set it up.

Embedded Wayfinder

Embedding the OpenAthens Wayfinder on your platform makes access easier, providing a better user experience to learners and researchers.

The OpenAthens button and search box options are both available to our customers and aim to provide flexibility and minimize change to your platform. However, redeveloping aspects of your platform interface is required in both options. 

OpenAthens button

The button is inspired by the RA21 recommended practices and reflects the user’s choice of institution.

When installed the button replaces existing institutional sign-in buttons and links, articulating a clear call to action for users. Once the user selects this option an overlay prompts the user to select their institution offering an onsite institutional discovery experience.

Screen capture of a prototype for OpenAthens button implementation for HRD UK

This example is from a prototype on the OpenAthens button implementation for Health Data Research Innovation Gateway which is currently in development.

The on-page institutional discovery provides excellent user experience with users searching for their institution without leaving the page they are on.

Screen capture of the OpenAthens search box on SPIE digital library

This example is from SPIE digital library.

Hosted Wayfinder

The hosted Wayfinder is hosted by OpenAthens and is available to any app or service to use as part of their authentication journey.

When setup on the publisher platform, the hosted version of the Wayfinder takes the user to an OpenAthens page to search for the institution they are affiliated with.

Screen capture of the Wayfinder live on Karger.com

The example is from Karger.

Ready for the next step?

Take me to step 5