Answered By: Francine May
Last Updated: May 13, 2024     Views: 199

How does the library use OpenAthens to connect to library resources?

OpenAthens LogoMRU is adopting OpenAthens to ensure a secure sign-in process to access digital resources like ebooks, journals, media, and data, enhancing the user experience.


Key Features of OpenAthens:

  • Active Login Requirement: An active MyMRU login, managed by MRU's ITS department, is required to access library licensed materials. For more details, visit MRU's ITS website.
  • Replaces EZproxy: It replaces the IP-based authentication system, allowing for direct access without starting from the Library's website.
  • Direct Connection: Connects researchers directly to publishers, but does not host content.


Benefits for MRU Library users:

  • Secure, Single Sign-On: Allows seamless access from the library and directly on publisher websites.
  • Extended Access Points: More access points to subscribed resources are available; look for the 'Sign in via institution' link.
  • Persistent Authentication: Once authenticated, the session lasts for 8 hours across different publisher's platforms.

Other benefits: 

  • Data Collection: Facilitates aggregated data collection to support library functions without compromising user privacy.
  • License Compliance: Enhances adherence to licensing agreements for electronic resources.


Changes and Implications: 

  • Resource Quantity Unaffected: The change does not impact the number of resources subscribed to by MRU Library.
  • On-Site IP Authentication - unchanged: No authentication to library resources is currently required with connecting from an MRU identified IP range. This remains unchanged. 
  • Off-Site Authentication - updated links and easier access. Authenticate on publisher platforms using your MRU login which can stay active no matter how many publisher platforms you visit.
  • Transition Phase: Some journals and databases may continue using EZproxy during the transition to full OpenAthens implementation.


Starting an OpenAthens session

Depending on your preferred research practices there are different ways you could start an OpenAthens session:
  • LibrarySearch: Log into LibrarySearch to start an OpenAthens session that remains active even if you continue your research via Google. Look for "Login" or "My Library Account".
  • Mymru or D2L: Mymru and D2L require you to login, and this also starts an OpenAthens session.
  • Favorite resource home page. Login directly via your institution at online resource such as Taylor & Francis Online or Wiley Online Library. Platforms vary, select your institution from a list and enter yourSeamless Access OpenAthens logo Mymru username and password. Some platforms may ask you to select your federation when logging in, select OpenAthens Federation if needed.
  • Google Scholar. Begin with Google Scholar and either ensure that the MRU Library links are showing or that you are logged into OpenAthens - this enables Google Scholar to identify resources available to your through MRU Library. If you find a resource and you aren't sure if you have access, check its availability in LibrarySearch to verify if MRU subscribes to it. [see this Google Scholar FAQ to find out more]


What You Need to Do:

Update your library links: Ensure that links to library e-resources in reading lists, D2L, or other documents are current. The implementation of OpenAthens changes the syntax of library links (though older libproxy links may continue to work for a time).

Link Updating Methods:

  • Easiest Way - Use LibrarySearch: The easiest way to update links is to retrieve a permalink to the LibrarySearch record. Find out more.
  • Retrieve or create an OpenAthens Link: Retrieve or generate permalinks in the database where you found the item or, in some circumstances, use the link generator tool. See more detailed instructions and examples relating to permalink creation.
  • Test your Updated Links: Test your links to ensure they work. Although not necessary, if you want to confirm an updated link will work for everyone - even those accessing from outside of MRU - you can do so by testing it from off campus, via a VPN or from a phone with the wifi turned of. 
  • Support Available: If you need any help, there are lots of ways of getting in touch with us us - via the main floor service desk, through chat or text message or by submitting a report using our Report a Problem form (embedded in each LibrarySearch record).


Additional help for faculty updating links in course materials

  • Ask us to update your D2L links for you - If you would like us to update your links in D2L for you, make the request & grant us permission to access your D2L site via this form.