Many library databases sit behind an authentication wall, where users cannot even access a database without first going through an authentication process (proxy, Shibboleth, library barcode, etc.).
Kanopy employs an approach to authenticating users called Simple Access. Simple Access is an authentication method that provides users with easier, error-free access to your Kanopy website and avoids common issues created by authentication systems.
How does "Simple Access" work?
1) Accessing your Website for First Timers
When a user first visits your website from off-campus, they are greeted by a holding page that alerts them of the library through which they are seeking access to content. They are then prompted to log in.
If your website is set up to permit direct, on-campus IP access, this page is skipped for a user when they visit your Kanopy website from on-campus.
2) Connecting to the Website
For most academic libraries, a page will pop up prompting the user to sign in via your authentication system. Due to the nature of Simple Access, this authentication does not create a session within your authentication method. As such, if a user goes on to access another library resource, they will be prompted to sign in again.
3) Returning to the Website
Users are asked to reauthenticate at the following points of contact:
- The first time they access the website.
- Whenever they log out of access or remove cookies from their browser.
- Whenever they seek to access Kanopy via a different device or browser.
- After every 3 months. Regardless of usage, every user will be forced to re-authenticate their credentials on the 3rd month after their last previous login.
Why does Kanopy use Simple Access?
There are a number of major benefits to Simple Access. For example, it:
- Solves all HTTPS issues: Simple Access solves the HTTPS issues that libraries most commonly experience, including issues with embedding films in learning management systems or sharing film links, as well as security issues.
- Permits users to use apps: Because Simple Access leverages HTTPS, it removes authentication barriers and allows your users to access Kanopy via apps on Roku, iPhone, Android, and a number of other devices.
- Allows sharing between institutions: The "holding page" under Simple Access is particularly helpful when users are sharing links to resources with users who are not members of the same institution. Users at different institutions that use Kanopy can easily share links to resources with one another. Due to Simple Access, users who receive Kanopy links from another institution will not be taken to an authentication page for an institution they are not a member of.
- Improves the powers for share and embed: Simple Access improves the ability to share and embed films in public websites (such as your library website, blogs, social media, etc.) because film metadata for is publicly available for sharing. In this way, Simple Access supports visually appealing, engaging access to content that matters.
- Provides a streamlined user access: After connecting once, a user will not be prompted to connect again until three months later from the same browser. Particularly for users who access Kanopy via apps, only being prompted to authenticate and "reconnect" their app for access four times per year makes for a streamlined experience. This maintains the security of access whilst ensuring user convenience.
- Reduces bandwidth pressure on your authentication system: Simple Access lowers the demands on your proxy/Shibboleth, not only by reducing the number of calls made to your system, but by allowing videos to stream directly to user, thus reducing the bandwidth pressure on library networks.
What if a user is accessing a proxied link for our Kanopy website?
When accessing Kanopy from a “proxied link” for the first time, the user experiences an extra step to “connect” to their library. Here is the sequence of events:
- A user clicks on proxied link.
- That is taken to the proxy login page and logs in successfully.
- The user is directed to the Kanopy website and will see a similar "Connect" button as per above.
- Upon clicking “Connect”, the proxy will automatically authorize the access (without asking the user to re-login) and the user will have access.
The only difference here with the typical process for a user accessing a proxied link is the insertion of a "Connect" button giving immediate access after the successful proxy log in. All of the benefits of Simple Access are then granted to the user.
Having trouble connecting to your platform?
Please contact email@example.com with any questions or connection issues. Be sure to include a clear description of the issue, the steps you took to produce the issue, and if possible, a full page screenshot.