New PIN system implimented in libraries

Mandy Lind and Mandy Lind

In order to protect students’ privacy, University Libraries has implemented a new PIN system as of June 16.

Students are asked to create a PIN on the Library’s website and verify it when accessing information from their library account.

“In our continuing efforts to provide users with more independence and control over their accounts, we thought it would be useful at this point so that users could feel confident about having access to their account,” Lorraine Haricombe, University Libraries’ Dean, said.

According to Mary Beth Zachary, head of access services and circulation, there were two prior instances where students got access to other students’ private accounts, which is part of the reason why, she says, library officials were prompted to launch the new system.

“We are bound by FURPA to keep educational records private for all of our undergraduate students under the age of 21,” Zachary said. “So when we knew there was a problem, we knew we had to fix it.”

The new system insures that only the individual will have access to information on his or her account. According to Zachary, staff members will not have access to the number.

“The PIN number is just for the library user,” Zachary said. “There is field in the patron’s record, but it is encrypted, so staff cannot see it. All we can do is delete it.”

If a student forgets a number Zachary advises that they contact the library through their BGNet account or go to the circulation desk and have an employee create a new PIN number.

Students will be required to use the PIN only when accessing a library account, not when requesting OhioLINK books or research databases, as the library originally intended.

“In our original message we said one would need to enter the PIN when you requested OhioLINK books or request remote access to databases, that’s not true,” Zachary said. “OhioLINK’s software is different, and we couldn’t tell if it was going to work because we could not test it until we went live, and when we did, it didn’t work the way we thought it would.”

Zachary says that this is actually good news for both students and officials.

“It’s good because what we wanted to protect was the patron’s library account, we didn’t want to create any unnecessary inconvenience,” Zachary said. “It works out very well for us and our patrons. Everyone’s needs are met.”

The library has also implemented another additional feature to the website entitled Preferred Searches, which will allow students to search the catalogue in their account, and save information obtained from that search.

“With this new feature there are several things you can do,” Bonna Boettcher, head of archives and research, said. “For example, if there’s a subject heading or word search that really describes a topic that you are working on and you want to be notified if the library gets any new related material, you can save the search.”

Boettcher says the new system is a way of tracking long term topics, and is great for notification.

“If you see something that is on order or in-process, and you want to know when it is ready, you can save the title of the book under Preferred Searches, and you’ll get an e-mail when it is ready to checkout,” Boettcher said.

For more information and updates concerning the new systems, students can visit or the University Libraries’ Web site.