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Recent trends in authentication and national information management policy in the UK

Joint, Nicholas (2009) Recent trends in authentication and national information management policy in the UK. Library Review, 58 (6). pp. 406-413. ISSN 0024-2535

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the evolution of digital library authentication standards and practices in the UK, and to use the issue of authentication to reflect on the nature of national information management policy and its associated structures. Design/methodology/approach – A brief historical account of British authentication developments set in the context of different international approaches, with some insights into the national decision-making structures that have shaped the nature of UK authentication practice. Findings – The paper finds that the shape of national information management structures had played an essential role in the evolution of authentication policy and practice in the UK, and that the solutions that have evolved as a consequence of this have not necessarily been the most user-friendly or logical that could have been achieved. Research limitations/implications – Research into best authentication practice should be taken forward from the widest possible international perspective, in order to gather the best solutions from wherever they are available. Practical implications – Practitioner engagement with the issues of national information management can help form a more intelligent debate on the best ways to shape large-scale information developments. Originality/value – This paper looks at various aspects of British digital library authentication systems with a critical eye, and asks librarians to consider familiar aspects of such existing systems from a different perspective.