Library Card platform/Authentication-based access
This feature is now deployed!
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This project aims to consolidate access to Wikipedia Library resource into a single point of entry and reduce the barriers to qualifying for access. In practice, this work revolves around two key improvements:
- Authentication-based access: Instead of having an individual username and password, access code, or other unique way of accessing each publisher, we will move to authentication-based access for most available resources. Users will simply log in to the Library Card platform where they will be able to access any authentication-configured content they are authorized for with a single click.
- Library Bundle: We will also be making a set of resources available in a Library Bundle. These collections will not need any application from users: instead there will be an automated eligibility check in the software. Approximately 25,000 editors will be eligible for the Library Bundle, which will contain more than 60% of the library's content.
There are a wide range of issues with our current workflows that we're looking to address with these changes:
- The total time from applying for a resource to receiving access is long and highly variable at around 1–3 weeks.
- Account lengths are unclear to both users and Wikipedia Library staff. Some accounts last one year, some end on a fixed date, and this information isn't recorded in the Library Card platform. This leads to frustrations as accounts expire out of the blue and The Wikipedia Library can't provide users with any warning.
- To gain access to content, users need to hold one of a limited number of spaces for a long period of time. This dissuades editors who only want access to specific content and don't need access for a whole year.
- Users need to track logins for each collection they have access to.
- Scaling the Library Card platform to support multiple languages is challenging due to the reliance on user-coordinator discussion via applications.
We want the Library Card platform to:
- Have a short turnaround time on providing access to users with low effort needed to obtain access.
- Give users direct feedback on when they are or aren't authorized to access specific content.
- Provide access options for users who only need a collection for a short period of time, such as to view an individual article or for an editing event.
- Provide a single point of entry to collections so that users can access content directly with their Wikipedia login.
- Enable users to access content without needing approval from or communication with Wikipedia Library coordinators/staff.
We are enabling authentication-based access via EZproxy. For publishers using this access method, existing individual logins will be disabled. Instead, to access content, users will go to the Library Card platform, navigate to My Library, and click 'Access collection', taking them through to the publisher's website via the proxy.
Because authentication-based accounts are entirely controlled from the Library Card platform, we can define clear start and end dates for access. Each access has a clear date on which it will expire, so users can make informed decisions about when they need to request an extension. Users can also return their access at any time to free up a spot for someone else.
We will be providing authentication-based access for approximately 30 of our 60 partners. This is a number we hope to increase over time, although some organisations simply don't have the technical infrastructure to support proxy.
For 14 publishers accessible via proxy (but totalling more than 60% of our total content!), applications will no longer be required. These collections will be part of a Library Bundle – a group of collections which will be immediately accessible to users who meet the minimum criteria for access:
- 500+ edits
- Account created more than 6 months ago
- 10+ edits over the last 30 days
- No active blocks on any Wikimedia project
If a user is blocked, they can contact the Wikipedia Library team to request a review. If the block is temporary or unrelated to content concerns such as copyright, they may be manually flagged for access. Any change in the user's block status, such as a new block, will require another review.
The Library Bundle removes the requirement to file an application to receive time-bound access to a collection. Instead, content is immediately available and eligibility is determined on an ongoing basis.
These checks are performed on login, so users meeting the criteria should immediately be able to access Library Bundle content, which can be found alongside other authentication-based access in the 'Instant Access' tab on the My Library page.
We will be monitoring the impact of these new features by tracking:
- The number of references added to Wikimedia projects by users accessing content through The Wikipedia Library
- How many editors are using The Wikipedia Library to access content (whether through gaining an application-based access or via the proxy)
- How many users log in to the Library Card in total
- How much each collection is accessed and cited
- Due to technical limitations in collecting this data, all users will be considered eligible for this criteria for 30 days after their first login.