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New users start here

You made a good decision choosing OpenAthens, now let's get you off to a great start.

This page assumes you are taking care of things yourself, you might also find the dedicated onboarding website of use. 

First we need to cover the basics of how the system works:

  • Your end-users (patrons, subscribers, etc) are issued accounts
  • Accounts reference permission sets to see which resources you have allocated to them
  • Permission sets are collections of resources and are how you can enable and restrict access to resources
  • Resources represent the journals, datasets, collections or portals of service providers that you have purchased access to

Next we need to think about how many permission sets we need:

  • If every user has access to all resources, then we probably only need one permission set
  • If different groups of users need access to different sets of resources, then we need multiple permission sets
    • You can lay these out as you wish, but a common approach is to have one permission set containing the resources that all users can access, and additional permission sets of just the special resources for each sub-set of users that need them
  • If we are using only one permission set, we will want to mark it as 'default' so that it is applied automatically when new accounts are created
  • If we are using multiple permission sets, we can set the one that contains the resources that all can access as default and assign special permission sets separately
  • How many users will there be?
  • How often will I need to create accounts?
  • Do I want users to be able to create their own accounts?

The first thing to do here is to create a personal account for yourself to experiment with. This will allow you to test access to the resources you have assigned and get experience of which details an account contains, how to update it and how changing the assigned permission sets makes a difference to what is displayed in MyAthens. If you have a small number of users, or if accounts are created infrequently, then creating accounts manually may be all you need.

Show me how to create a personal account

If you expect that most accounts will be created at the same time (such as when a University has an annual intake of students), then bulk uploading is the most popular way to create the accounts you need to issue because it allows you to copy and paste key information from a list into a spreadsheet template and upload it to the system. Thousands of accounts can be created with only a few minutes of work.

How to bulk upload accounts

If you expect that most accounts would need to be created daily or weekly in small numbers (such as when a library supports users who could register at any time of the year), then self registration may be an alternative to creating them manually as it allows users to create their own accounts.

About self registration

If your end-users are already in a local directory such as LDAP, SirsiDynix, Azure, ActiveDirectory or similar you have the option to not create user accounts in OpenAthens at all.

About local directory integration

Other things to consider

Passwords - allowing the users to choose their own passwords (a setting called activation) is the default and recommended approach for best security and it also gives you a handy list of users that have not yet started using their accounts.

Expiry dates - the default is 18 months but this can be set to anywhere from 1 to 60 months on the accounts preference page.

Automatic deletion - there is a setting under account preferences that allows you to control how long expired accounts can remain expired before they are automatically deleted. There are similar settings under domain preferences for deleting accounts that have not been activated.

Personal data - OpenAthens only needs a name and an email address to create an account for a user. It has the facility to store more, however it is good practice to not store any of your users' personal data that you do not need.     

Once you are set up, the rest of these documentation pages should be all you need if you are not sure how any specific function works. There are links in the administration interface to the most relevant pages here for where you are in the interface.

Documentation home

FAQ section

The OpenAthens onboarding website

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