Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Library, maximised value by delivering user-friendly access.

Committed to excellence and maximising value by user-friendly access. Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Library offers a broad range of books, journals, videos and other materials.

Established 1920 



London, UK 



Journals for students, course leads, and tutors.


On-demand subject databases 


Ongoing staff publications, book chapters, articles, and research.

2 Million 

Online TV and radio archive 


Solutions at a glance


Library needed a file-storage platform that can work as a secure way to deliver documents and videos to specifically a “profiled user group”. 

Needed the ability to provide restrictions on file usage and divide privilege amongst student, course leads, tutors, and working staff. 

Provide user friendly access in addition to delivering extra security on downloading files, other documents, and especially videos.  


Built a dedicated wordpress “Doc Store” site that made use of “EZPZ” to provide ability on creating profiles, groups and limiting user controls.

Developed user friendly Shibboleth IdP access to provide and divide access privilege and control for each specific user group.

User friendly plug-ins for pdf and ebook documents and video embeds to stream private videos in high-quality service combined with the flexible security from Shibboleth for controlling viewings to specific user groups

The Challange

While many libraries still offer anonymous access to resources, an increasing number have implemented a more secure authentication model that relies on third-party Identity Providers. This improves security (it’s much easier to disable access when someone tries to log in with a 

compromised username and password), allows for more personalised user experiences, and helps libraries manage resource costs by tracking usage more accurately.  

To implement this, libraries must integrate their directories with the identity provider so that users can authenticate using their existing network credentials. Libraries already using SSO with their local IdP need not even enter a password when they want to connect to library resources. 

In Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust library’s case, when different types of users have additional access requirements, it can be beneficial to manage their credentials separately from the corporate directory. For example, some organisations manage student identities on dedicated third-party or middleware (such as the Shibboleth or Moodle) managed outside of IT and ties into other applications such as grading systems.  

Another example is “affiliated users”, such as scholars and alumni who aren’t listed in an internal network directory. These users may need access to specific resources for defined periods. 

The Solution

The solution to this problem is to design access pathways around simplifying the user experience, with technology as a means to an end. 

First, by administering a Single Access Page. It delivers a single login page that integrates multiple identity 

providers behind the scenes. Identity providers can come and go, but the access experience is consistent. 

Existing metadata can be used to minimise the number of requests for additional user information by mapping your variant IdP metadata against a standard template, which automates the creation of user profiles. These profiles can then be used to build easily maintainable resource access logic. 

The Benefits

This allows the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust library to allow document sharing while recording granular usage stats against specific user profiles (such as by department, role, etc.).  Libraries can use anonymous identifiers while 

still recording aggregate statistics at a meaningful level. This will allow them to better manage their resources and maximise value from their budget. 

It’s reassuring to know that when presented with a scenario or a problem, we can rely on the Overt team to ask the right questions and find the right solution. We’re always confident that any service they provide that will be simple to use while still delivering an excellent experience for our end users. 

Anthony Farthing

Digital services assistant librarian | Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation

Need help? 

If you would like to learn more about how Overt Software can help you enhance your systems user access, please contact the Overt Software Customer Success Team.


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Overt Monthly Newsletter: June 2024

Overt Monthly Newsletter: June 2024