University of Suffolk

Transform remote e-resource access without the overhead cost

Student in University of Suffolk Library

"Working with OCLC to implement EZproxy has been a real pleasure. If you’re looking for the right authentication solution for all your publishers, then I haven’t seen one better. As an institution we’ve used others, but EZproxy is seamless. It’s a huge improvement for us."

Aaron Burrell
Former Digital Learning Systems Manager

The University of Suffolk had been running the standalone version of EZproxy® for several years. Although it originally worked smoothly, e-resource access problems increased over time. When publishers started to secure their websites with HTTPS, the university found itself unable to upgrade to the EZproxy version that handled the change. This caused frequent certificate errors when off-campus students tried to access e-resources.

“Academics started to give us negative feedback about remote e-resource access at the course committee meetings we all attend,” said Aaron Burrell, former Digital Learning Systems Manager. Library and digital learning staff had to investigate these problems. At the same time, the library helpdesk was inundated with visits, calls, and emails from users struggling to access the resources they needed. So the access problems had a huge impact.

Despite these problems, the library still valued many aspects of EZproxy. A library working group evaluated the issue. “And what came out of it was a decision to move to EZproxy,” said Aaron. “It would mean that OCLC would manage the hardware and the system on our behalf, giving us all the benefits of EZproxy with none of the internal overheads.”

"The biggest change is that there are no complaints from students, whereas we were previously receiving them on a daily basis."

The migration to EZproxy was straightforward for the University of Suffolk. Aaron said that the implementation “was a very quick process, even allowing for the fact that we had the standalone version in place and were familiar with the solution.” The library launched EZproxy within two weeks. Aaron and his colleagues communicated the improvements through the intranet as well as through student engagement sessions in the library.

E-resource access at the university is now truly seamless with EZproxy. Students and staff in remote locations simply access the resource as they would on campus. Library staff can be certain that EZproxy is always up to date through automatic updates. Freed up from time-consuming student and faculty complaints, and with the lighter IT workload that comes with such a solution, library and digital learning staff spend their time on more valuable services. “We’re able to be much more proactive,” Aaron said. “We can provide support for tools and access to other resources that students will find useful, for example. We’re doing so much more than problem solving now.”

And the team is now leading a campus-wide learning analytics project in which e-resource usage will play a significant role. “We are now able to see who is accessing which resource, which wasn’t possible before. And for us, e-resource usage is only the start. We are leading an institution-wide project that will look at learning analytics and how students are progressing. We see e-resource usage as an important part of that,” Aaron said.

Services used by University of Suffolk


Map showing location of the University of Suffolk

Library at a glance

  • Supports a university established 2007 with roots that go back 500 years
  • Includes three regional partner colleges that support students of all ages and learning levels
  • Focuses on research as central to its role as a community impact university

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