May 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 in the News

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Ralph Youngen (American Chemical Society) are the presenters of the next IAM Online webinar on 13 May 2020. Information on federated access and the tools to enable it (including SeamlessAccess!) are the topics of the session. For more information, and a calendar link, see “Simplifying Federated Access to Scholarly Content and Services” on the IAM Online website:

And in other news, have you read The Scholarly Kitchen article, “Guest Post – Seamless Remote Access During a Global Pandemic: An Indispensable Necessity”? The article touches on many of the challenges and opportunities to improve access to scholarly content immediately, given the current global pandemic that has closed the physical doors to campuses and research organizations everywhere. SeamlessAccess has played an important role in this for the American Chemical Society; the article is worth a read!

Outreach Survey

Last month, the SeamlessAccess outreach committee sent out a survey to campus libraries and IT support teams to gain a better understanding of the technical environment in which they work. A working group is currently analyzing the survey results, and intends to have a report posted on the SeamlessAccess blog by the end of May 2020.

Community Engagement

The Entity Categories and Attribute Bundles Working Group is almost ready to release its recommendation for three new entity categories. 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. The current list is:

  • 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

The group considered whether a fourth category, one that explicitly supported sharing personal information with a particular type of Service Provider, was appropriate. The decision was to not create an entity category for that - any such sharing should be a more explicit, one-on-one discussion between a Service Provider, an Identity Provider, and the user.

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 You can sign up for alerts for outages or to be notified when software updates are made to the services. 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.