The problem for institutional users is that the usual institutional authentication methods (IP address, Athens, Shibboleth) often do not work on mobile devices. This is is because even when a user is within the walls of his institution, his mobile device is often not on the institution’s network (it is on the network of his cellular carrier). Silverchair solves this problem by enabling institutional users to access SCM6-hosted websites from any mobile device – even when the user is not on his institutional network. We enable this functionality through the use of personal accounts. An institutional user may set up a personal accounts with his own username and password. He may then use his personal account to sign on to subscribed content from any mobile device. Silverchair maintains security by requiring that a user sign in to the publisher’s SCM6-hosted website when on the institution’s network every 90 days to prove he remains affiliated with the institution.
The advantage of this method of mobile authentication for publishers is twofold. First, publishers can offer secure mobile access to authorized users at subscribing institutions. In an era of shrinking library budgets, this is a powerful incentive. Second, unlike other mobile authentication methods such as device pairing, Silverchair’s account-based mobile authentication method tells publishers who is accessing their sites. Most institutional usage is anonymous—publishers do not know who the institutional users of their sites are. SCM6′s account-based mobile access provides a strong incentive for institutional users to identify themselves.
There are numerous advantages for institutions themselves. Institutional subscribers can provide their users with 24/7 access to subscribed content via any mobile device, without having to manage complicated VPNs or requiring users to request pairing codes. Additionally, SCM6 includes mobile usage in institutional usage reports, even when that usage occurs off of the institutional network, providing librarians and institutional administrators with a global view of site usage by their affiliated faculty, staff, and students.