We are excited to announce a new tool in Springshare’s cloud platform of apps – LibAuth. LibAuth is our implementation of patron authentication inside Springshare apps and systems. This is important new functionality which will make Springshare tools even more useful and more applicable to a wide variety of use-case scenarios within libraries. We have big plans for LibAuth and will be enhancing it further to offer innovative authentication-based solutions and services to our libraries.
But first things first. LibAuth is a free module inside our LibApps platform. In essence, if you use any of our v2 tools (LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, LibInsight, etc.) you automatically get LibAuth. Your Springshare LibApps admin configures LibAuth to link to the authentication method used at your institution. We currently support Shibboleth, LDAP, SAML, CAS, SIP2, and a remote self-hosted script option. If your institution relies on a method not listed here, please contact us and we’ll investigate how to make it happen! Springshare is also a member of InCommon and the UK Federation which makes authentication setup even easier for institutions who are members of either of these federations.
So, if you are the super-admin of Springshare tools at your institution (we call these LibApps admins) head to LibApps Dashboard -> Admin -> Manage Authentication (see screenshot below) and configure your authentication method.
Click on the “Manage Authentication” link in the navbar to enter the details of your authentication method and select attributes to release to Springshare. It is very likely that you will need to work closely with your IT folks to set this up so we recommend that you have your IT folks on good terms 😉 while setting up LibAuth. The setup form also provides testing tools to ensure you set things up correctly.
Pro tip: LibAuth also lets you define and configure any number of “rules” – for example if certain functionality should only be available to faculty or to undergraduates etc – as long as your authentication supports it and you release the necessary attributes to Springshare, you can setup all sorts of rules to be used in Springshare (and later in non-Springshare) apps.
Once you successfully setup your authentication scheme in LibAuth, here’s what happens next.
- At your option, your librarians with access to a LibApps account (to work on LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibInsight etc) can login to these tools using LibAuth, i.e. using their campus/library username/pwd.
- Starting tomorrow, LibCal room booking functionality is ready to work with LibAuth. Once you set up and verify your authentication method via LibApps, head to LibCal > Room Bookings > Settings > Edit Group to require LibAuth authentication for that group of rooms. If you’ve previously setup room booking authentication inside LibCal, we’ll automatically transfer those settings to LibAuth so you’re all set (but check the LibAuth console to confirm and do a couple of room booking tests, just to make sure).
- Over the next few weeks we will turn on authentication support for Event Registrations and Librarian Appointments so you will be able to restrict these (optionally of course) to your authenticated users (or groups) only.
- Over the next month we will turn on LibAuth authentication in our E-reserves module (our library reserves/reading list solution). This way our ER module will not only be the most affordable Reserves/Reading solution, but also one of the most secure ones too ;).
- In the next 3-4 months we will add support for LibAuth inside all of our apps, wherever and whenever needed. We’d love your feedback and ideas on this – email our support or sales teams and let us know where you think we should add authentication support (inside which Springshare apps and for what use-case scenarios). This is a really exciting and really big development for us, and we truly feel that adding authentication points inside our apps will bring many more use-case scenarios which will make your Springshare tools even more useful and will make you love ’em even more!
- Over the next 6-12 months we will be adding new products and services based on LibAuth capabilities, and we will be releasing an API to use LibAuth anywhere. Yes, we’re going there! We believe there are many opportunities ahead for providing seamless authentication that “just works” inside other library products and services. Send us your ideas, we’d love to hear from you.
Last but not least – please bear with us over the next few weeks regarding support and fixing any issues you may encounter while setting up your authentication method in LibAuth. We did tons of testing but with so many different authentication setups out there the best way to test and fix any issues is to release it into the wild and invite everyone to start using it. So while this is not “beta” because the full functionality is there and it works, we appreciate your patience while we ensure that it works well for everyone.
Thank you to all our clients who helped us during LibAuth development, with your excellent feedback and suggestions. We’re starting 2016 with a bang, and we have so many new things in store for our clients this year (and beyond). Thank you all for being the best clients, ever!
-Slaven & The Springshare Team