Columbia Partners with the London School of Economics and Political Science to Use New Internet Technology that will Increase Access to Scholarly Materials


NEW YORK, February 2, 2005 - Researchers at Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will use a new Internet technology to share scholarly materials. This technology, called Shibboleth®, developed by the Internet2 community, offers a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use solution for sharing online resources in a secure and confidential manner by leveraging organizations’ identity management infrastructures.

Shibboleth technology has been tested by a number of higher-education institutions, government agencies, academic publishers, and other higher-ed vendors and has been designed to give students access to more content while safeguarding arrangements made with content holders. With their deployment of Shibboleth, Columbia University is leading the technology’s adoption among the Internet2 community.

The joint Columbia-LSE project, Digital Anthropology Resources for Teaching (DART) (www.columbia.edu/dlc/dart) aims to explore the potential of digital resources for teaching undergraduate anthropology. The project will also investigate digital-library technologies that will allow for the flexible delivery and customized use of these resources. Columbia and LSE are partners in this international project, funded by a joint program between the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the U.S. and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the U.K.

"We are excited to be using this innovative Shibboleth technology that offers both privacy and technical scalability to our international communities," said David Millman, Director of Research and Development at the Academic Information Systems (AcIS) division of Columbia University.

At Columbia, DART is a collaboration between the Department of Anthropology, the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC), and AcIS. EPIC, consisting of Columbia University Press, Columbia University Libraries, and AcIS, creates innovative and effective models of scholarly and educational publications using new media technologies in an integrated research and production environment.

James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University explained, "By integrating Shibboleth into the global scholarly and learning environments using this innovative partnership between LSE and Columbia, we will greatly enhance our community’s access to leading-edge educational materials to improve their overall academic experience."

Ken Klingenstein, project director of the Internet2 Middleware Initiative, and chief technologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder added, "The collaboration between LSE and Columbia demonstrates new and innovative uses of the underlying Shibboleth technology—in its international dimensions, its application directly between institutions, and the ease of use it offers to scholars and students. This work indicates the growing value, and transformational impact, of a federated management approach within academia."

Led by more than 200 U.S. universities working with industry and government, Internet2 develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow’s Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnerships among academia, industry, and government that helped foster today’s Internet in its infancy. For more information, visit: www.internet2.edu.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

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02/02/05 JD