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How can Circulation staff manage Remote Electronic Access for patrons?

The Office of Library Services has made improvements to the way the centrally-hosted EZproxy servers handle authentication so that they restrict expired patrons from having access to electronic resources.

This is to explain the consequences of these changes and discuss what types of results various Aleph workflows will produce.

Background

This issue goes beyond a single group of patrons, such as high school students. This cuts across a variety of patron groups.

Centrally-hosted EZproxy authentication originally only checked whether a barcode was valid (i.e., the five-digit institution prefix). Subsequent improvements gave us the ability to check whether or not a patron had library privileges restricted due to overdue books or fines of $5 or more.

Until recently, someone who graduated school or left their job at CUNY could have ongoing access to electronic resources for years. By remaining in the Aleph catalog (e.g., with a minor fine), the patron’s barcode was deemed valid by the authentication process.

The recent changes to the way the centrally-hosted EZproxy servers authenticate users now allow us to also check the patron’s expiration date in his/her global patron account.

Patron Registration

Patrons that are loaded via the automated (CUNY-wide) batch loading process automatically receive a global patron account.

In the below image, the global account is circled in purple. The local account is circled in orange. All of the required fields (circled in red) are automatically updated during the usual automated patron batch loading processes. These fields are required for Aleph to function properly and for use in statistical reporting (e.g., monthly circulation statistics).

Local patrons have a variety of different privilege levels. Most notably, they have local restrictions and some of these restrictions are applied across CUNY. For example, patrons labeled in Aleph as ‘25 Alum’ are blocked (by Aleph internally) from submitting CLICS requests. Individual libraries would then classify patrons based on the level of privilege that they know to be most appropriate for their patrons.

If a group of local patrons does not receive remote access to electronic resources, add new patrons as usual. The global patron will continue to be made inactive by your staff (i.e., by setting the expiration date to ‘today’). Please fill out all of the fields circled in red (see attached).

If a group of local patrons is licensed to receive remote access to electronic resources, it is important to set the expiration date in the future. Just as you set the expiration date with a local patron account, you would do the same with a global patron account. For this group, Aleph does not require a local patron account.

In order for various patron groups to have all of their library privileges work optimally, please be sure to completely enter the account registration information. This allows staff to assign the appropriate level of library privileges. Furthermore, libraries frequently request circulation-related statistical reports for accreditation and other purposes. Once the data retention policy takes effect, the only information we’ll have in the loan record is the patron type and patron status (circled in red, see below).

If you have existing local patrons that need remote access to electronic resources, please contact OLS. We have tools to fix patron records in a batch.

For more details on arranging new patron registration please visit this page.