Jane Bancroft Cook Library implements a new system for students
A screenshot of the home library page showing the available resources including the Search Catalog tool, NCF databases and USF databases. (Photo courtesy of Aria Lockman.)

Jane Bancroft Cook Library implements a new system for students

There are many changes happening behind the scenes in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library which are impacting students’ access to certain resources, as well as giving them new ones.

In the past, New College of Florida (NCF) has had a joint access agreement with the University of South Florida (USF), allowing NCF students to access USF’s library database. USF currently uses an authentication system called Ezproxy which uses IP information in order to authenticate students and resources. NCF has a shared IP range which allows students to access resources within the USF databases.

However, recently NCF students may have noticed an additional database option on the library home website: NCF Databases. The NCF database uses a different authentication method, this is called OpenAthens. This authenticates users through affiliation rather than IP information. According to Co-Dean Librarian Tammera Race, this system is “easier to use”; Students will no longer have to memorize their library number in order to access resources, instead they can login through a single sign-on. Race also states that the system is “more direct and more secure”.

The library system is currently going through a “transition” phase, meaning that students still have access to the USF database until the end of December. USF will then be switching to OpenAthens as well; however this transition will cause NCF students to lose access to USF’s database. Unfortunately, NCF does not have a joint-access agreement with USF regarding the new system, therefore NCF student’s will lose access to USF’s database in the spring semester. 

Despite all of these changes, there is one thing remaining the same: the Search Catalog. The Search Catalog tool was implemented in the summer of 2021 and uses Alma and PrimoVE in order to provide students with a discovery tool. This system allows students the opportunity to borrow resources from other state colleges and universities. The Search Catalog system is here to stay and students will have access to this system indefinitely.

Although students are losing access to many USF resources, the Search Catalog still allows students to borrow resources from other state universities. And, while the NCF library system is in transition, new resources are being added into the database throughout the semester.

It is possible that NCF and USF may come to another joint-access agreement regarding their new systems using OpenAthens. However, discussions and decisions need to be made and the cost of this implementation must be evaluated before that can happen. Until then, NCF students will still have access to the Search Catalog and NCF databases.

So don’t fret, there is still plenty of time to take advantage of USF’s resources and database. Once the transition is complete, NCF will be left with a system that is more direct, secure, and easy to use.

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