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Proxy Servers

On Mar 5, 2005, at 7:04 AM, trlists at wrote:
> My question is, why is the university mediating access to the journal's
> site?  Is the setup that the universities do not host their own copies
> of the material, but must retrieve it from the journal's site and
> authenticate that access for the user?

The Journals generally restrict access to their contents either by 
account names and passwords, or via IP address blocks. Since individual 
username for every user at a large university would be impractical, 
they opt for the IP address filter. Routing requests through the proxy 
allows authorized users off campus to appear as if they were on campus.

> I still think this is a very "self-centered" approach which does not
> take into account the possibility of either a user who wants to access
> multiple university libraries, or a user who wants to access one of the
> journal sites directly for their own purposes.  It works if your usage

The university makes the assumption that users are only affiliated with 
one University at a time and only need access to one proxy system at a 
time. For most people, I'd say that is probably a safe assumption. I'm 
not sure why you'd want to access the journal website directly, all 
they would do is request you pay a arm and a leg for access to content.

> matches the way the university thinks of the system, but if you don't
> fit their model then it causes trouble -- especially for non-technical
> users.  At least that's how it looks so far.

I can agree with that, but I think IT departments have more pressing 
issues to worry about. I mean, the number of off-campus users is small, 
the number of off-campus users who want access to library journals is 
even smaller, and the number of users who need multiple proxy settings 
even smaller than that. Compared to campus wide general authentication 
issues, providing robust email service for thousands of people, etc, I 
think its sort of a minor priority.


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