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The Dutch Royal Library (KB) has been a source of knowledge and inspiration for centuries. Every written publication in the Netherlands is being documented and kept safe for future generations. With a growing access to digital sources and the explosion of eBooks and audio books, KB had to become a digital-first organisation very fast. Creating a digital library, available for all citizens of the Netherlands became the first strategic priority for KB. That’s why they needed to facilitate digital access for their users at scale.
KB operates according to three core principles. First of all, their activities aim to foster education and creativity for society. As such, they are covered by public funds, making their social value and responsibility essential. This means that inclusion is an important part of their business strategy. Sources should be available to a diverse group of users (the whole Dutch population), and online access should be provided accordingly.
The second pillar is the focus on Digital-first. In order to take a leading role in today’s information society, KB doesn’t just need to keep up with digital developments, but also initiate new forms of collaboration to open up sources, enhance knowledge and drive innovation.
The third important principle in KB’s mission is to develop partnerships. The organisation works with a diverse range of partners that support them in their mission and vision; for example, organisations that develop educational materials for dyslectic children. This means that KB does not only offer access to their own online sources, but they also make partner content available for a broad audience.
KB’s ambitions towards digitalisation included the wish to provide the Dutch public with a single access with one ‘key’ to all library services. One of the main challenges was the scalability of the solution. The library has a large audience, that would ideally consist of all Dutch citizens. In practice, this comes down to over 7 million active user accounts, growing to approximately 10 million. The project required a strong IAM services provider that was able to handle the scale.
The search eventually led to the implementation of iWelcome’s IDaaS, based on a private cloud infrastructure. This was important to guarantee server availability and manage traffic peaks. KB’s servers are reserved uniquely for their own login transactions. Traffic is always being monitored and in case of peaks, it’s possible to add processors within the data center.
KB was looking for a flexible solution, able to integrate with a multitude of applications, but with the possibility to have one dashboard for monitoring purposes across applications.
Since the iWelcome platform was built based on a microservices architecture, it has a lot of flexible elements that can be added upon request and desired situation. That’s why KB uses Kibana, part of the Elastic Stack and natively integrated in iWelcome’s microservices-based IDaaS platform.
Since KB’s user group is very diverse and should represent the whole Dutch population, KB offers services for people with visual or reading disabilities. In order to be able to access those services, voice technology is used across the main services, applications and login platform.
Using the right templates, the iWelcome solution could be easily integrated with KB’s voice technology.
With iWelcome, KB was able to combine their three core principles to be
This third ambition meant that the solution needed to work for multiple applications. Not only for KB’s own services, but also various partner applications, using different technologies and granting personalized access. With a combination of both OAuth and SAML flows, these applications are part of a connected Single Sign-On architecture. This means that KB is the hub in a large information ecosystem, offering library materials and services, but also partner content and services, varying from audio books to special features for people with reading difficulties.
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