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OU Libraries adds browser extension to simplify access to library resources regardless of physical location

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Bizzell Memorial Library

The Bizzell Memorial Library amid snow and ice Oct. 27.

OU Libraries launched a new browser extension called Lean Library, allowing students, staff and faculty to streamline OU Library resources between search engines.

Lean Library will direct users to OU Libraries’ e-resources if an online journal or other academic source requires a payment and the library has access to that content, OU Student Success and Engagement Librarian Magen Bednar said. Lean Library will prompt you to input your OU credentials and it will grant you access to the material.

”If the library doesn’t have access to it, it will also connect you to our automated form that you can submit, and we will find a library somewhere out in the world that does have access to it,” Bednar said. 

Before COVID-19, websites and journals could recognize a user from OU based on their on-campus IP address, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Director of Digital Innovation and Development Twila Smith said. COVID-19 has made research from off-campus more common, but websites won’t recognize the user’s personal IP address as an OU community member, denying them access.

“With Lean Library, you just log in once and then that publisher knows that you’re from OU, and that gives you all the access you’re supposed to have,” Smith said. 

Bednar said the primary goal is to make researching at OU easier and more streamlined.

“It just kind of makes the research process a little bit more streamlined, and it bridges that gap between where they prefer to research and the resources that the library has access to,” Bednar said. 

Lean Library can be downloaded on the OU Libraries website

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