Problems with university web gateway – 23 October 2009

Performance problems affecting the university’s web gateway during the afternoon of 23 October 2009 (reported by IS as now resolved) did affect on-campus access to LLR electronic resources.

Problems were first identified with remote and metasearching in eSearch (when searches were either timing out unresolved or producing an error), but other issues were soon apparent as external web connections more generally were affected. Access to electronic resources within the university network (such at the Library Catalogue, IRep and and LLR web site) were not affected by the problem.

If you continue to experience any technical problems with connecting to external web services, please contact the eServices team with details of the issue.

British Standards Online – off-campus access restored

Off-campus access to the British Standards Online (BSOL) service has been restored. On-campus access remains direct; and off-campus access is now by university domain, username and password. Despite extensive efforts, it has not proved possible to enable either Shibboleth or eZproxy authenticated access to BSOL, so LLR has agreed an alternative arrangement with the providers based on a secure ‘referral URL’.

This is how this works:

When an off-campus customer clicks on the link to British Standards in eSearch, they will be directed to a special BSOL login page. That page contains the actual login link, and a guide to how to complete the two different styles of pop-up login boxes that may appear (depending on the settings on the local off-campus PC). Once the the login has been successfully completed, off-campus customers will be presented with a page indicating that they have successfully logged in.

Clicking on the ‘Launch British Standards Online now‘ link in that page, will open up a logged in session on the British Standards Online service.

Because the customer has to login to the service, and because off-campus access to BSOL is only available through the secure eSearch link, it is not possible to omit any of the steps or to bookmark a page part-way through the process. Because it is the ‘referral URL’ link itself which authenticates the off-campus customer, LLR has to protect this link behind a secure login (to ensure that only current students and staff members can access it).