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Integrated... Interoperable... Institutional... Implementation... Institutional VLE - Library Integration at University of Ulster.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrated... Interoperable... Institutional... Implementation... Institutional VLE - Library Integration at University of Ulster."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrated... Interoperable... Institutional... Implementation... Institutional VLE - Library Integration at University of Ulster

2 Session Overview Introduction to institution (University of Ulster) 4i Project background Implementation of 3 main aspects of integration: Resource Management System (TalisList) Library Service Point (LSP) Athens Devolved Authentication (AthensDA) Benefits of integrated, interoperable, institutional implementation to main stakeholders Constraints and future developments

3 University of Ulster (UU) Overview 4 physical campuses Virtual campus launched October 2001

4 University of Ulster Profile

5 24,000 students 5500 active modules (in WebCT) >1000 online module resource lists (in TalisList) 17 online Masters programmes Global spread of outreach activities

6 Why integrate the VLE & Library? All courses (traditional and virtual) require supporting resources Campus based students have ready access to the Library and all its services Remote users may not appreciate library services available Need to ease and integrate access to knowledge resources for all students (FT, PT & distance)


8 Project Background 2000/01 institutional e-learning infrastructure 2001/02 Library introduced TalisList Summer 2002 UU was test site for WebCT-TalisList integration Athens Devolved Authentication 2002/3 JISC DiVLE funding for 4i Project

9 4i Project Objectives To fully assess the impact of institution wide VLE- Library system integration on library business processes and the user experience To further develop technical integration methods to facilitate better interoperability between diverse systems and platforms, and across institutions

10 Challenges of Integration If students are enrolled for a module, we know quite a lot about who they are and what they are likely to be studying… Can we provide all users with a contextual view of library and other appropriate resources/services? Can we facilitate seamless authentication to protected resources for bona fide UU users? Aim: Identification of appropriate user profiling and authentication tools across the institution

11 Requirements for Integration Common data schema necessary UU Student Records, VLE and Library systems all use common categorisation schema (module code) Population of various systems all generated from common data source A multidisciplinary, multi-departmental team promotes a holistic solution

12 Realising VLE-Library Integration A common, granular view of the library necessary – TalisList TalisList A means of passing on user and module information between systems - LSP LSP An integrated approach to authentication – AthensDA AthensDA click web links for further information

13 Integrated... Interoperable... Institutional... Implementation... TalisList is a web-based system designed to manage collections of resources, such as reading lists associated with a particular course/module/subject.

14 Links to book details in library catalogue Link to full text journal article Journal available in paper and electronic form Link to the website of a professional body Link to past exam papers online

15 Resource Management Challenges Acquire lists from academics Add value through inclusion of electronic resources without spoon feeding learners Identify sustainable resource list creation and management processes. Access impact on library business processes and embed associated tasks within staff structure

16 Resource Management Opportunities Improved academic/library liaison Increased awareness of electronic resources Single interface for access to paper-based and electronic resources Informed resource management strategy Modular view of Library, centrally maintained

17 Integrated... Interoperable... Institutional... Implementation... The Library Service Point (LSP) acts as middleware picking up requests from the institutional VLE and routing them onward to the appropriate Library service or resource.

18 UU Library Requirements Engagement with Library staff identified three tiers of library links within WebCT course areas: Institutional (library homepage) Subject guides Module Resources (Talislist) In addition: Library Service Point – a gateway to further contextualised library resource, service and support options.

19 Library Service Point (LSP) Person and Module data passed from WebCT is manipulated by the LSP to generate person-, module-, school- and faculty-specific links to various Library resource, service and support options. Contextual links between the institutional VLE & Library are automatically embedded into WebCT navigation The point of integration (LSP) lies outside the actual systems concerned promoting system independence

20 UU Library Integration Schematic UU myWebCT Home Area UU Module Menu A UU Module Menu B UU Module Menu C Library Homepage (Institutional) TalisList (module / course) Subject Guide (Faculty / School) Library Service Point (module & person UID) Library Homepage TalisList (module) Subject Guide (faculty) Available Electronic Information Services New Resources (school) Past Exam Papers (module) My Library Account (personalised)

21 UU Library Integration Demo The following series of slides illustrate functionality of the LSP-facilitated links from UUs institutional VLE (WebCT) to the UU Library experience. 1.Library 2.Library Services 3.Module Resources 4.Subject guides

22 4 standard Library links within VLE navigation options

23 1. Generic link to the main Library website via LSP

24 University of Ulster Library homepage

25 Library Services Link Library Services offers dynamic contextualised links with seamless VLE-Library authentication to a range of internal and external Library systems and services via the LSP: Main Library Website and Catalogue (generic) My Module Resource List (module-specific) Library Information & Services for My Faculty (faculty-specific) My Electronic Information Services (Athens) (person-specific) New additions to the Library in My Subject (school-specific) Past exam papers for this module (module-specific) My Library Account (person-specific)

26 2. Clicking here passes user and module ID to LSP that generates a contextualised menu of Library resource, service and support options.

27 The user could, for example, click here to gain seamless pre-authenticated access to their account in the Library system that offers a range of self-service options.

28 SS: Library Borrower Services User can view account details and avail of self-service options in Library catalogue (Talis) without having to enter additional credentials

29 Module Resources Link Module resource lists are managed using the Talislist system A standalone web-based resource list management system that integrates with Library Management System. Resource lists are structured and annotated as required A CONTEXTUAL gateway through which internal and external learning resources can be delivered. Centrally managed by Library, with option to grant academics editing rights.

30 3. Clicking here passes user and module ID to LSP; link to appropriate Module Resource List (in TalisList) is automatically generated.

31 TalisList: Users explore the contents of their module resource list by clicking to expand the various subsections

32 Subject Guide Link Organised on Faculty / School basis Managed by Subject Librarians Broader perspective than module resource lists - useful for student research purposes Provide some contextual support for students when a module resource list is not yet available in Talislist

33 4. Clicking here passes user and module ID to LSP. The relevant Faculty and School is determinedby the LSP and a link to appropriate Subject Guide (in Library website) is automatically generated.

34 Relevant Library news items along with a range of links to subject- specific resources is presented to the user via drop-down menus

35 LSP Benefits Learner Seamless access to customised services and resources. VLE Reduced maintenance as LSP and TalisList URLs are maintained by the Library Library LSP authorises trusted access to other internal library services after local authentication in VLE. Promotes student utilisation of resources and services Reduces helpdesk queries Challenge: Seamless access to externally hosted resources

36 Integrated... Interoperable... Institutional... Implementation... Athens is a secure Single Sign On service with over 200 participants from leaders in online scholarly publishing

37 Athens Single Sign On Service Athens Personal Accounts Extensive account management facilities with individual usernames and passwords, administered by Library Database of user credentials hosted externally by Athens Devolved Authentication Capability to integrate with an institutional system e.g. LDAP This option allows users to enter a single local username and password (e.g. VLE login) and avoid having to enter additional Athens credentials when accessing external library resources.

38 Point of Authentication? Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Institutional Directory Service (LDAP) Library Management System (LMS) Data Service Provider (DSP) LAA ModeHDD Mode

39 AthensDA: Modes of Operation Local Authentication Assertion (LAA) Used to establish an Athens session preemptively by a hidden referral to the Athens Authentication Point (AAP) upon authentication to a local system E.g., University of Ulster uses this when a user logs into the institutional VLE (WebCT) When the user tries to access an external Athens-protected resource, they are seamlessly logged in because their Athens session has already been established via LAA Home Domain Discovery (HDD) provides the user with a route back to the institutional login option if they go directly to a service

40 AthensDA: Virtual Accounts Alternative to Athens Personal Accounts that are checked against the central Athens database, hosted external to an institution. Virtual accounts are a unique representation of a user, and contain a combination of a unique institutional identifier, and permission set. e.g. uls.acb02f02340z343y These credentials are acquired from the AAP after successful local authentication against local directory service (e.g. UU LDAP) The DSP does not receive the institutional login details, but instead receives a virtual account, and a transfer token.

41 Advantages of Virtual Accounts DSPs (e.g. ScienceDirect) check for an Athens virtual account stored in the browser session rather than prompting for an Athens username and password; seamless access granted! Course and Resource SSO - enables synchronised authentication to VLE and Athens-protected library resources Maintains ability to produce fine-grained statistics, user profiling, and provides an auditing mechanism for logins. Improves accuracy of user credentials and reduces administrative workload Eases integration of local and external services

42 UU AthensDA Implementation Current model WebCT: Authentication role LDAP: Authorisation role AthensDA: LAA Mode Live Semester / LDAP for authentication & authorisation AthensDA HDD Mode UU WebCT login LDAP WebCT Auth. Athens LAA Valid UU user? No: No action Yes: Athens credentials provided

43 Authentication and Authorisation Authentication The act of verifying that an electronic identity is being employed by the person to whom it was issued. e.g. UU WebCT login process Authorisation The process of determining, e.g. by verifying what attributes or roles are associated with that identity, whether the identity should be permitted access to a given resource e.g. UU LDAP checks if this WebCT user is entitled to use the Librarys electronic resources and if so which subset of these resources should the user be granted access to via AthensDA?

44 Benefits of Integrated Authentication Reduce number of access credentials required Effectively pre-authenticates WebCT users to Library systems and resources; users are ready to go Reduces user education Simplifies existing helpdesk issue (queries from distance learners about Athens credentials) Promotes user awareness of available services Increases usage of electronic resources

45 Student logs into Campus One, UUs institutional VLE using local credentials. Background Processes: WebCT performs authentication role LDAP performs authorisation role AthensDA used establish active Athens session for valid users.

46 A popup window appears briefly to confirm/deny the establishment of an Athens session. Background Process: Valid user is assigned an Athens virtual account for the duration of the browser session

47 From the MyWebCT area listing various modules of study, the student selects one to enter Background Process: 1st session cookie containing Student ID is set upon entry to the MyWebCT area

48 User may select any of the 4 LSP-facilitated Library links from the standard navigation bar, e.g. Module resources Background Process: 2nd session cookie containing Module ID is set upon entry to the Module area

49 Users clicks to expand section within the relevant module resource list Background Process: The LSP picks up the Module ID (bms813c2x) from cookie and uses this to generate a contextualised link to the Librarys TalisList system

50 Users clicks on link to electronic journal article from the list of module resources. Background Process: This generates a link directly to the article in ScienceDirect using the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) e.g.

51 User clicks here to open PDF containing full text Background Process (AthensDA): DSP (ScienceDirect) checks for existence of Athens virtual account and if present, does not challenge user for Athens username and password.

52 The user is granted seamless, pre- authenticated, access when navigating from their course (in WebCT) to the relevant module resource list (in TalisList) and onward to Athens-protected electroninc library resources (in ScienceDirect).

53 Overall Benefits Opportunities arising from an integrated, interoperable, institutional approach to VLE-Library system implementation include Streamlining of library business processes Simplified user education Reduction in helpdesk queries Increased usage of electronic resources These benefits are explored in more detail in section 4 of the paper Integrating VLEs & Libraries: opportunities and challenges to be published in the Informatica journalIntegrating VLEs & Libraries: opportunities and challenges click web link to view full paper


55 Interoperability Constraints of Current Approach Library integration is achieved at course level Implications of this include Managed at the designer level in VLE Changes must be done at the course level (1000s of courses…) Working towards a metadata facilitated VLE-Library integration

56 Interoperability Liaison UU is actively liaising with Vendors, in particular WebCT, Talis and Athens Interoperability standards development groups IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards (CETIS) Academic partners e.g. UK Healthcare Education Partnership (UKHEP) UU provide large scale experience in the important, emerging area of VLE - Library integration click web links for further information

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