WAYFless Access to Resources

WAYFless URLs are links that libraries can create to allow their users to directly access a content item using federated authentication (e.g., Shibboleth) credentials without having to detour through the institutional login page. This reduces the number of steps that the user must go through in order to gain access to the service, and so represents a better end-user experience. This entry is co-maintained by Shenzhen University Library, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) Library, and Tsinghua University Library.

1. What is a WAYFless URL?

WAYFless is a method of combining IDP addresses in URLs for the purpose of avoiding readers having to choose their own institution when adopting Shibboleth authentication. "WAYF" stands for "Where Are You From" and indicates the institutional login page selection list. WAYFless eliminates the need for complicated authentication steps with different SP interfaces.

 

WAYFless-URL is provided in the database that supports Shibboleth. When in use, please replace the "{IDP address}" in the URL with the IDP address of your school, for example, idp.xxx.edu.cn. Every school that joins the CARSI Alliance can use this method for the convenience of readers.

2. How does a WAYFless work?

The usual process is that a user clicks on a link on a website, which can be seen as figure 1-1. Then they get asked “Where Are You From” (WAYF), so they select their institution. Then they are asked to authenticate. So, they have to enter their login and password for that institution to prove that they really are from there. And finally, they get access to the resource itself after going through those processes.

figure 1-1

On to the phrase “WAYFless URL”, the figure 1-2 below shows the process. It is a specially constructed hyperlink which includes details of the institution a user comes from. So, when they click on that link, they don’t get asked “Where Are You From”. That step disappears completely. Instead all they have to do is type in their login and password. They authenticate and then get access to the resource. It is a way of simplifying things for the end user by creating a special type of hyperlink.

figure 1-2

In conclusion, a WAYFless URL is a special link to a resource that uses Shibboleth or Federated Access Management for authentication. It saves a user from having to select their institution before logging in to resources. This action removes a few steps in the login process for users and makes it far more intuitive to get to resources under federated authentication using Shibboleth.

3. How to use a WAYFless URL to access to resources?

For all E-resources that support institutional login, you can log in with your institutional account. Please find the list of all E-resources supporting institutional login and an example of how to use institutional login here (https://cuhk-shenzhen.libguides.com/institutional_login). The updated information can also be found here later. By Feb. 21st, our Library has enabled institutional login for 16 databases. All 16 databases are listed below.

figure1-3

(1) For E-resources that support WAYFless URLs, you can simply login on the WAYFless URL page without having to detour through the institutional login page.

 

Please find the list of E-resources that support WAYFless URLs below.

 

Database

Link

All databases powered by EBSCO

WAYFless Link

All databases powered by ProQuest

WAYFless Link

Emerald

WAYFless Link

IEEE/IET ELECTRONIC LIBRARY(IEL)

WAYFless Link

IOPScience

WAYFless Link

Nature-branded Journals

WAYFless Link

RSC

WAYFless Link

ScienceDirect

WAYFless Link

Scopus

WAYFless Link

SpringerLink

WAYFless Link

Web of Science

WAYFless Link

Wiley

WAYFless Link

中国知网CNKI

WAYFless Link

(2) For E-resources that support institutional login but not WAYFless URLs, you need to find the entrance of institutional login and the name of our institution first, and then reach the login page.

Please find the list of E-resources that support institutional login but not WAYFless URLs below.

Database

Link

Route

Institution Name

Engineering Village (Ei)

Website Link

Sign in > Other Institution login

CUHK-Shenzhen

Reaxys

Website Link

Institution Sign in OR Sign in via your institution

CUHK-Shenzhen

SciVal

Website Link

Sign in > You can also sign in via your institution, organization or OpenAthens.

香港中文大学(深圳)(CUHK-Shenzhen) (Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen)

 

References

Rhys Smith & John Murison. Best Practice: WAYFless Access to Resources. https://www.ukfederation.org.uk/library/uploads/Docume.

Gould, Elyssa M. "Authentication Methods and Recent Developments." Serials Review 44.3 (2018): 247-50. Web.