Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Because Britannica Doesn't Recognize You

When a University of Windsor student, at home in front of the family computer, accesses she will not get the full text of most articles because Britannica costs $12 a month. Britannica does not inform her that she can have full access to its all content through her university library. So the student must know that she has to visit the website of her university library and see if she can find a link to Britannica. She will be authorized to use Britannica using the library's link to once she is authenicated, that being - she must enter her PIN number on her library card before she can get to the site.

When the same student is on campus, she does not have to type in her library card PIN number because recognizes the IP address of the library compter she is using and it lets her see all of its content. She mostly likely doesn't even notice that that there are varying level of access and that her her access was paid by the University. She will assume that the Encyclopedia Britannica is free and can't understand the site doesn't seem to work when she's using her home computer.

Some librarians see this as a "branding issue" but its really an authentication problem.


Art said...

is this authentication or identity, or even profiling? Britannica doesn't know the user has an affliation that gives them access.

Mita said...

Hey Art,
I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have been playing a little too fast and loose with the terms authentication and authorization - (about which I recall you had once written in LibraryCog that folks have a tendency of mixing up). The differences between identity and profiling are too subtle for me to know what I prefer!

Art said...

It's probably a mixture of all these, I guess the tough question is who loses the most, Britannica or the library, when an affliation is missed. Surely the vendors want to solve this too, but we seem tied to weak solutions.