April 2020 Newsletter

SeamlessAccess is a service designed to help streamline the online access experience for researchers using scholarly collaboration tools, information resources, and shared research infrastructure. This is the monthly update for March 2020 where we catch up on the latest activities within SeamlessAccess.org.

SeamlessAccess in the News

Choice, one of the publishing units at the Association of College & Research Libraries (a division of the American Library Association), released a series of podcasts last month on digital access to scholarly content. The podcasts feature interviews with Heather Flanagan, Program Director for SeamlessAccess, and Laird Barrett, Digital Product Manager at Springer Nature. All four episodes are available now at https://www.choice360.org/librarianship/podcast.

SeamlessAccess will be featured on an IAM Online webinar on 13 May 2020. Keep an eye on the IAM Online website for more information: https://www.incommon.org/academy/webinars/

Outreach Survey

Two surveys were administered between February 10-March 27. One survey was aimed at academic IT staff, the other at academic library staff. The purpose of these services is to help SeamlessAccess better understand the diverse situations in academia for accessing online scholarly content. We received 290 responses: 159 from libraries, and 131 from academic IT. Responses were received from 20 different countries, however, the majority were from the US and Europe. More information on the findings from these surveys will be made available on the SeamlessAccess blog later this month.

Community Engagement

The Entity Categories and Attribute Bundles Working Group is currently reviewing proposals for four new entity categories. The names are not final; we’re focusing on the intent for now. The working group will discuss whether it is appropriate to propose all four categories; this list is not final.

  • Authentication only - this use case covers authentication only; the Service Provider does not want any attributes from the Identity Provider
  • Anonymous - this use case supports authorization in addition to authentication while keeping the user completely anonymous to the Service Provider
  • Pseudonymous - this use case supports authentication, authorization, and allows for personalization per SP
  • Explicit - this use case supports authorization and personalization by default.

The goal of these entity categories is to help ease the burden of configuration on the part of the Identity Providers; ultimately, it is the Identity Provider that will decide whether or not to support these entity categories in their systems.

All proposed entity categories will go through a public comment process, and will ultimately feed into a new working group that will focus specifically on appropriate contract language to define the terms of attribute release between a library and a publisher.

Monitoring the Services

The availability of the SeamlessAccess services is publicly viewable at https://status.seamlessaccess.org. You can also sign up for alerts to be notified when software updates are made to the services.

SeamlessAccess.org is a service, governed as a coalition between five organizations: GÉANT, Internet2, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), ORCID, and the International Association of STM Publishers. Participants include researchers, service providers, libraries and identity providers and federation operators, vendors, publishers.