DUBLIN, Ohio, January 11, 2008—EZproxy, the leading software solution for serving library patrons remotely, has been acquired by OCLC from Useful Utilities of Peoria, Arizona. Useful Utilities founder Chris Zagar will join OCLC as a full-time consultant. Mr. Zagar will help ensure a smooth transition of EZproxy operations to OCLC, the world’s largest library service and research organization, and assist OCLC in developing state-of-the-art authentication services for the cooperative.
Mr. Zagar, a librarian at the Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona, developed EZproxy to provide libraries a better solution for authenticating remote user access to licensed databases. EZproxy software allows libraries to manage access and authentication configurations through a proxy server so that library users do not have to make any configuration changes to their personal Web browsers.
More than 2,400 institutions in over 60 countries have purchased EZproxy software. OCLC will honor EZproxy’s current service arrangement for existing and new customers whereby licensees continue to enjoy access to new releases of EZproxy and technical support at no additional charge.
OCLC will also continue to develop and support EZproxy by working with commercial vendors to create new connectors to authentication systems and online content resources to libraries. EZproxy version 4.1 is scheduled for release in March 2008.
"The library community has embraced EZproxy as the preferred solution for serving patrons remotely, and we believed it’s important to continue the service model that users currently enjoy," said Betsy Wilson, member of the OCLC Board of Trustees, and Dean of University Libraries, University of Washington, an EZproxy user. "OCLC’s acquisition of EZproxy ensures that the software will be developed and supported for libraries over the long term."
Additionally, OCLC is planning to connect local instances of EZproxy to WorldCat.org, creating new value for licensees and their users. By surfacing EZproxy in WorldCat.org, end users outside of the library will have better access to library collections and services through WorldCat.
The acquisition of EZproxy not only preserves the investment libraries have made in the software, but now allows Mr. Zagar, who will be taking a 12-month leave of absence from the Maricopa Community Colleges, time to develop new authentication methods beyond proxy server technology that will benefit the community.
"The addition of EZproxy will help library patrons get to the information they want from their library, when they want it, from their home, office or any other remote location with an Internet connection," said Chip Nilges, OCLC Vice President, Business Development.
In 1999, Mr. Zagar announced the launch of EZproxy with a single posting to a listserv believing that it would be of use to other community colleges. "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," said Mr. Zagar. Since then, his user base has grown to more than 2,400 institutions.
"EZproxy is a great fit for OCLC, and OCLC is a great fit for users of EZproxy," said Mr. Zagar. "EZproxy was developed to help library patrons access information beyond the library walls, and I know that is in step with OCLC’s vision."
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit library service and research organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation, library management and Web services to 60,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world’s richest online resource for finding library materials. For more information, visit www.oclc.org.