EMu has multi-group support

Users are given access to EMu by assigning them to a group. Each group has a set of permissions associated with it, and the user inherits the permissions of the group to which they have been assigned. Individual user based permissions may then be defined to override group based settings as required. The use of group based permissions means that it's not necessary to specify all the permissions on a per user basis, and only the difference between the group permissions and any user specific permissions need to be defined for any one user.

Groups are generally based around real life roles, with each group reflecting the permissions required by all users who undertake the role. For example:

  • A Curatorial group might allow users to create new Catalogue records, but not to register new loans.
  • A Loans Officer group would have permission to create Loans records, but not to create Catalogue records, and only to update the Condition Check and Locations fields for existing Catalogue records.

Assigning a user to the Curatorial group, casts that user in the curatorial role.

In general, the group system works well in EMu, except when a user performs more than one role within the institution. For example, a curator (group Curatorial) may also manage the loans for a small part of the collection (and so requires Loans Officer permissions). Until now, EMu provided two solutions to this dilemma:

  1. Create two usernames, assigning one to group Curatorial and the other to group Loans Officer. The user must then use the correct username when logging into EMu to perform the required role.
    Moving from one role to the other (e.g. a new loan arrives while the user is logged in as a curator), requires the user to log out of EMu and back in using the Loans Officer username. This could become tedious, and it requires that the user remembers two user names and two passwords.
  2. The second solution requires a new group to be created which is a merge of the permissions of the Curatorial and Loans Officer groups.
    The problem with this solution is that the combined privileges present a view of the world that is neither curatorial nor loan specific: it is possible to alter any field in a Catalogue record while raising a new loan. In other words, a new hybrid role is created (curator-loans office).

In most cases the two original roles are sufficient and all that is required is a mechanism to switch between the two groups without having to log out and back in as another user.

EMu 4.0.03 introduces multi-group support, which allows a single user to be registered in more than one group:

  • A user who is a member of more than one group can select the group name to use from the Login dialogue box when logging into EMu.
  • At any time it is possible to switch to another group without logging out and back in again.
  • When switching groups the user decides whether opened modules should remain open or whether they should be closed.
  • Any new modules opened will use the group permissions assigned to the group that the user switched to.

By not closing open modules it is possible to have modules in different groups open at the same time. EMu ensures the correct group permissions are observed based on the group associated with the module.

With multi-group support, a user is able to log in using one group, switch to another group while leaving existing modules open, perform operations in the new group and then switch back to the previous group, all without having to close any modules. A key feature of multi-group support is that it allows users to change roles without losing their current work position and then to return to that position at a later time.

For full details, read the Multi-group support document.