Access and Identity Management for Libraries: Controlling Access to Online Information

Philip Calvert (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 3 November 2014




Philip Calvert (2014), "Access and Identity Management for Libraries: Controlling Access to Online Information", The Electronic Library, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 930-931.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Libraries and similar organisations now use numerous different electronic resources. This includes access to commercial online databases, digital materials produced locally and made available electronically (e.g. many “digital libraries”) and other computer-based systems that allow end-users to access and utilise digital information. Some libraries are still struggling with the challenge of providing access to resources that are so many and varied, yet retaining some level of security. Allowing access to one system might be relatively easy, but easy access to them all – perhaps with a single sign-on – is still only on the horizon for very many libraries. That is why this book is relevant and merits our attention.

The first two chapters answer the basic questions about “what is access management?” why libraries must do it and what sorts of electronic resources are now hosted by libraries and must be protected. Chapters 3 and 4 are, to my mind, the best chapters for someone relatively new to the subject, as I am. They cover the principles of access management and the most common technologies used for access management at present. Chapter 5, 6 and 7 add to this, with more detailed information. Chapter 8 provides an overview of federated access management technologies, such as Shibboleth, that are now being used more widely, especially in academic libraries. Chapter 10 is useful for all libraries providing public access Internet. The other chapters fill out the subject by talking about evaluating access technologies, keeping statistics and making a business case for a new access technology.

The book has a useful index but no bibliography. It may well be that this book attracts a wide range of readers, and if so, there is enough in it for the novice and the near-expert. Those who know little of access management will find plenty in the introductory chapters to help them understand the issues, including what needs to be protected and why. For those getting deeper into access management, the eight case studies, which are mostly from academic libraries but include one joint-use library, will give more specific information. The book is recommended for a variety of reasons, one of which is that there is nothing else available on this subject, and this title fills the gap very well.

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