Chair, Document Access Services, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library, Little Rock, AR
Publishers restrict access to their online content based on the IP address of the computer making the request. This is called IP authentication and authorization and is not a problem when the computer is located on the campus/institution having subscribed to the content. To provide the same level of access off-site requires a proxy authentication to ensure that only subscribing users will have access to it.
EZproxy is a web proxy server program extensively used by libraries to provide this authentication. It allows library patrons at home or elsewhere to log in through their library's EZproxy server and gain access to their licensed products. It works by dynamically altering the URLs within the vendor's Web pages.
EZproxy was written by Librarian Chris Zagar in 1999 and he founded Useful Utilities LLC to support the software. In 2008, OCLC announced the acquisition of the product and the hiring of Zagar as a full time consultant for one year. The software is used by more than 2,500 institutions in over 60 countries.
- Easy to setup and easy to maintain program
- Allows connections with a variety of authentication services (e.g., LDAP)
- Low initial purchase price
- Does not require changes to user’s web browser
- User required to authenticate only once and will remain active until browser closed
- Dynamically alters the URLs within the web pages provided by vendor. The results are a seamless access environment for users without the need for automatic proxy configuration files.
- Maintains a standard web server log file of usage. Using standard web log analysis tools, database access statistics can be obtained.
EZproxy is available for servers running:
- Windows NT 4.0 (Workstation and Server)
- Windows 2000 (all versions)
- Windows 2003
- Windows XP Professional
- Licensed at $495 per institution for a one-time fee. This is for organizations that provide services to their employees and to directly affiliated individuals (e.g., students, alumni)
- OCLC membership not required for purchase
- Provides the right to transfer license key between different platforms at any time
- No charge for upgrades to future versions or for maintenance and support
- Permission to install permanent key on non-production servers owned by institution to test new configurations
- Quick reference guides in PDF format provided at OCLC EZproxy site. These include Getting Started with EZproxy: http://www.oclc.org/us/en/support/documentation/ezproxy/pdf/ezproxy_getstarted.pdf and EZproxy Upgrade Guide: http://www.oclc.org/us/en/support/documentation/ezproxy/pdf/ezproxy_upgradeguide.pdf
- EZproxy site includes several additional resources for new and old users. (e.g., FAQ, Troubleshooting and Known Issues)
Additional Resources (see Webliography for links)
- Email list provided by the State University of New York
- Wiki provided by SUNY Potsdam
- URL Clearinghouse (Information on how to create direct links to various databases)
OCLC EZProxy® Authentication and Access Software
EZproxy Quick Reference Guides (PDF)
EZproxy E-Mail List
Unofficial EZproxy Self-Support Wiki
Page last updated: 3/6/2009
NOTE: Questions or comments about the contents of this article should be addressed to the author, Dena Plaisted, at PlaistedDenaK@UAMS.EDU