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OpenAthens announces line up for Access Lab 2021 conference

Identity and access management specialist OpenAthens has unveiled the details of its annual Access Lab conference which will take place online, 16-17 March 2021, from 13:00 – 17:00 GMT each day.

The theme for the event is ‘Thriving in the (un)usual. Creativity. Agility.’ The conference will be hosted virtually for the second year. OpenAthens will bring together experts from a wide range of sectors including education and research, healthcare, government, charity, publishing and commercial.

Now considered a permanent fixture in the information industry calendar, Access Lab has gained a reputation for showcasing debate and discussion on key industry issues affecting the global publishing and library communities.

Many countries’ healthcare systems being under the world spotlight in 2021 as they have faced the challenge of the pandemic. The 2021 opening keynote address will be given by Darren Hutton, product owner – NHS login, NHS Digital.

The two-day event has been adapted to enable an international audience to participate. It will feature sessions reflecting on the impact the pandemic has had on the industry. OpenAthens’ data and business analyst Andy Anderson will deliver a session considering the question: What did the pandemic do to usage stats?

The opening plenary for day two will be delivered by Chris Thomson. He is subject specialist – digital practice at Jisc, and his session will be: ‘Lifting the lid: achieving trust and trustworthiness when working with learner data.’

The debate-based sessions are always a conference highlight. The schedule for 2021 includes a discussion under the title: ‘Crossing the digital divide through collaboration’. This will be chaired by Liz Sayce OBE, visiting senior fellow at London School of Economics and former CEO of Disability Rights UK. She will be joined by assistant librarian, University of East London, Naomi Smith; vice provost and vice president for enrolment management and student success, Georgia State University, Professor Timothy Trenic alongside additional panellists to be confirmed.

Other confirmed sessions include:

  • The future of the modern library: ‘Delivering library services at the point of need’. Matt Hayes, managing director, Lean Library and Matthew Smith, Academic Engagement Librarian at University of East Anglia
  • Closing keynote on 17 March: ‘Using data to engage with your user communities.’ Lettie Conrad, Scholarly Kitchen chef and publishing & Product R&D consultant, LYC Consulting.

Winners of the Best publisher UX award 2021 will be announced on day one of the event. 2021 will be the second year this award has run and was won last year by Emerald Publishing for its Emerald Insight platform.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to gain insight through case studies from OpenAthens’ customers and partners. Representatives who will discuss their own experiences from Boston College, Touro University Nevada and The University of Salford.

OpenAthens commercial director Jon Bentley said: “We’re very much looking forward to the 2021 Access Lab conference. Our 2020 event was originally going to be ‘in person’, but we quickly changed to an online format once the pandemic hit.

“Changing to be completely online held many benefits for attendees and meant people from all over the world could join and participate, share their views and gain insight on the latest industry issues and topics affecting our fast changing sector.

“With 2020 bringing so much change to everyone we will of course have some elements of the conference focused on the new world post-pandemic. We will also showcase session formats from previous years which we know our delegates have found useful. Notably, case studies and our lively panel debate!”

Access Lab 2021 is relevant for anyone with an interest in identity and access management. 

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