Questions about Shibboleth and e-book authentication

Dave Perry Dave.Perry at
Fri May 8 08:59:06 EDT 2015

I didn't see a response to your question, so sorry if I'm repeating someone else here (I look after Hull College Group's Shibboleth installation btw).

We use the Shibboleth Identity Provider (commonly referred to as IdP on this list) software, which is free, to authenticate against pretty much all our eResources. It doesn't HAVE to cost you anything other than time (you may find your IT team, or a member, has the skills) - there are consultants who'll set it up for you, for a fee (no idea who to suggest, or what they charge).

The gist of it is you have a server (we went for a virtual one) in your network, that can access some kind of login server (Novell eDirectory for us previously, but a lot of us use Active Directory as the login source) - end users login to your IdP, then when they're in successfully it then sends values (e.g. a unique username, affiliation for that user such as Staff or Student) to the e-book provider.

I believe Belfast is in Northern Ireland? If so, you should be covered by the UK Federation. Which is like a network of IdPs allowing their users access to Service Providers including e-book publishers. Our Idp releases a certain set of information to ANY provider who is part of the UK Federation, which means we don't usually have to do anything to get access to a newly-subscribed resource.

The UK federation technical staff are knowledgable and helpful, very useful to get your IdP in their directory - one is being patient with me whilst I get a new one setup, and I don't know all the tools used inside out so it's not a 2minute job.

Hope that helps,
Dave Perry
eLearning Technologist, Hull College Group

Room L34 - Queens Gardens Library
Wilberforce Drive, Queen's Gardens, Hull, HU1 3DG
Extension 2230 / Direct Dial 01482 381930

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From: users [mailto:users-bounces at] On Behalf Of j.conkey at
Sent: 05 May 2015 19:04
To: users at
Subject: Questions about Shibboleth and e-book authentication

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am exploring the possibility of acquiring e-book access for our library (an Academic Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland) and was wondering if you could tell me what you could offer in terms of authentication for our e-books? How much would it cost to set up Shibboleth authentication? What would you require from us? Any details about authentication for e-book access would be very much appreciated. Please let me know if there is anything you need to ask me about our institution or IT set up at present.
Very many thanks,
Joy Conkey
Deputy Librarian, The Gamble Library, Union Theological College, Belfast

[union-theological-college-logo]The Gamble Library Vision Statement. Every member equipped with the resources and information literacy they need to support teaching, learning, research or personal and professional development, within the context of the Union Theological College's vision and ethos.


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