Table of Contents
Previous Article
Next Article

New PIN System for Access to Electronic Resources

Beginning on Sunday, August 19, the HOLLIS Portal—a gateway to Harvard's electronic resources such as Lexis-Nexis, MEDLINE, OED, and all electronic journals—will institute a new, University-wide authentication system, the University PIN service.

The PIN Service will replace the old authentication system of username and Harvard ID number. The primary reason for the switch is that the PIN is more secure than the old system, since ID numbers may appear in print and are available on the ID cards themselves, says Caren Smith, Application Support Manager in the Harvard University Library Office for Information Systems. In addition, future systems, such as viewing books charged out through the online catalog, will benefit from a more secure login process.

Once the new system goes into effect, people who need to access Harvard's electronic resources from a workstation outside any of the Harvard libraries must have a PIN to log in. Inside the libraries, access remains PIN-free. Faculty, students, and staff who already have an assigned PIN can continue to use it. All other users will need to obtain a PIN through the University PIN service web site at Here, any user with a valid Harvard ID can request a PIN and will be given a choice of receiving a letter through University mail with their assigned PIN or an e-mail with an encrypted URL that will lead to a PIN activation page.

Before the new PIN service is initiated on August 19, the University will be sending out reminders and instructions via e-mail and hardcopy to all faculty, students, and staff who do not currently have a PIN. This will give them adequate time to obtain a PIN and it will help to make the transition to the new system a smooth one, assuring continued and uninterrupted access to Harvard's electronic resources.

All PINs assigned for this new service require activation and will expire if not activated (after one day for PINs obtained via e-mail or one month for PINs obtained through a printed letter). During the PIN activation process, the user will be asked to change the PIN to something he/she can easily remember.

For more information, contact Caren Smith, Applications Support Manager, Office for Information Systems, at 5-3724 or

Table of Contents | Previous Article | Next Article

Last modified on Thursday, April 18, 2002.