May 13, 2018

OCLC Acquires EZproxy

The seemingly ever-growing OCLC has expanded again, acquiring EZproxy, a leading remote authentication software for licensed databases, in January. EZproxy creator Chris Zagar won the 2006 Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award for the software developed by Zagar’s company Useful Utilities. The product is especially popular with academic libraries, since it enables users to connect to all the institution’s licensed databases remotely from their own computers via a single authorized login maintained by the subscribing facilities. (For more on EZproxy, see Zagar’s article in LJ netConnect, Fall 2007, p. 6–9.)

Zagar will take a 12-month leave from his position as a systems librarian with Arizona’s Maricopa Community Colleges to be a full-time consultant with OCLC, developing “new authentication methods beyond proxy server technology that will benefit the community,” the company said. OCLC also has announced its intention to integrate EZproxy further with WorldCat, claiming that “end users outside of the library will have better access to library collections and services through WorldCat” as a result of the acquisition.

EZproxy has provided authentication support to libraries since 1999, when Zagar announced the software to the web4lib electronic list. The product’s development stemmed from the need for an authentication solution Zagar perceived at his own institution but quickly was embraced by others nationwide. “When Harvard and MIT were among the first to sign up for EZproxy, I knew I had underestimated the problem of authentication and access to these licensed materials,” Zagar said.

Josh Hadro About Josh Hadro

Josh Hadro (@hadro on Twitter) is the former Executive Editor of Library Journal.