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6.9.2 Impact of TELSTAR on Authentication and Authorization

TELSTAR does not introduce new mechanisms for Authentication or Authorization, and as such there is an ongoing need to support EZProxy and Open Athens LA.

However, as described in Section 6.8.3, TELSTAR proposes an alternative way of providing links to resources, at least from within Course websites. This alternative approach means that the link stored with the reference to a resource is the ‘original link’, which creates a question of how to enable a seamless authentication and authorization process for the students, as is currently achieved by providing modified URLs to link to the resource.

As described above, all links created via TELSTAR functionality are routed via the SFX Link Resolver using the OpenURL framework. This enables the library to add the appropriate authentication mechanism at the link resolver.

The SFX Link resolver is currently integrated with EZProxy. For each online resource SFX is aware of, it is possible to indicate that links to the resource should be directed via the Open University EZProxy service. This means that the student experience of authentication as they link to resources will be unchanged for those resources SFX is aware of.

For Athens authenticated resources, or resources that SFX is not aware of, there are two possible mechanisms to ensure the user is directed via an appropriate authentication route under the TELSTAR model of linking:

  • Use existing mechanisms (as described in Section 6.8.2) to produce a persistent link for the resource which directs the user via the appropriate authentication route, and make this the link included in the reference
  • Use the concept of that ‘alternative URL’ to allow the ‘primary URL’ for the resource to be stored in the reference, while the ‘alternative URL’ directs the user via the authenticated route.

The latter mechanism is preferred as this means the primary URL can be stored with the reference. However, more investigation into the associated overheads of managing URLs in this way is needed.

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