What is Single Sign-On?


With cellular networks covering a larger area of the globe, and wi-fi freely available in more restaurants, stores, and even public transit, people have grown accustomed to surfing the web anywhere at anytime. A thriving tablet and smartphone market means that people are accessing the Internet from a number of devices and are constantly changing between them throughout their daily lives. To address the user experience of switching between mobile devices, companies are implementing single sign-on, or the use of one authentication process to access multiple websites, in order to make the user experience seamless. It's now possible, for instance, to register with website that has never been visited before simply by signing-in with one's Facebook or Google credentials. With less effort put toward recalling and re-entering passwords for multiple websites, users can navigate the web with greater ease and accessibility.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • a national infrastructure of authentification and autorization (AAI - shibboleth https://shibboleth.net/
    ) with international interfederation is very important to give the user SSO within different library System Networks. - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein May 5, 2014
  • The functionality behind single sign on is going to be expected for our services and having students jump through multiple authentication ports creates a barrier to use. - lcshedd lcshedd May 6, 2014 - ahaar ahaar May 9, 2014 Completely agree! If not already expected, it soon will be the expected norm. - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh May 11, 2014
  • The potential integration with Facebook and Google (for examples) services may provide benefits in reducing users' dependencies on an institutional infrastructure (which is likely to be unavailable when they leave the institution) but raises issues regarding trust, privacy, etc.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?


(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?


  • The potential impact is not only are users better able to navigate the web. But SSO implementation should also force a discussion by the institution to examine and be more thoughtful in the connection of our various silos of services and resources. - ahaar ahaar May 9, 2014
  • The above point is astute. - aarontay aarontay May 9, 2014
  • Falls in line with the importance of user experience design. - mstephens7 mstephens7 May 11, 2014
  • Having a single sign on experience may have implications for user privacy. - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh May 11, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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