Once upon a time in ye olde days of Camelot, King Arthur and Merlin would meet with their trusted Knights of the Round Table to plan the progress of their glorious kingdom. This summer, the SPI team at PBS has been working closely with its own trusted 'Pilot Stations of the Round Webinar' to test and refine recommendations and best practices for the new Merlin-powered PBS.org. As PBS gears up for the launch of the Merlin database later this year, our circle of stations will grow - and each new addition will need its own PBS User account to access Merlin. But what's the different between new PBS User accounts and the other accounts required for PBS products like COVE and Station Remote Control?
What is a PBS Account?
The Merlin Admin Tool will be the first PBS internal application to use the UUA (Universal User Authentication) service. Eventually, other PBS websites and products will be accessible with UUA accounts, but for now they will primarily be used to access the Merlin database.
The UUA provides a way for users to establish their own "PBS Account" that will allow them to maintain a singular identity across all PBS ecosystems, such as PBS.org and station websites. For example, if a user logs in to a station site before visiting the PBS homepage, they will remain logged in as the same user and won't have to log in again with a different account. In addition to public users having a single account across the PBS ecosystem, our own internal products for stations and producers will be integrated into the UUA system, meaning stations won't need to keep track of new accounts for each new PBSi release.
As the UUA system is introduced to more PBS products and websites, stations particularly will find the system useful as creating an account will provide a breadth of information about users. Currently the system only collects first and last name, email address, and a nickname when registering. However, we plan to add additional fields in the future.
Do PBS Accounts work with COVE too?
The UUA system is different from COVE since each member of your team will have to create their own unique login. In the future, however, PBS does plan to integrate the UUA service into the COVE admin tool.
Can I see the PBS Account system in action?
If you would like to preview an example of an active UUA system, Nightly Business Report (NBR) currently uses the service. The program's log in page can be viewed here.
As you can see, login creation is a simple but necessary step to build the PBS Internet gateway of the future. As the official launch of Project Merlin approaches, the SPI team will be sending stations information about Merlin training and UUA account setup procedures. Stay tuned to the SPI blog for more details!
(This article was updated for stations by Thomas Kennedy on July 14, 2010. Portions were written by Ashley Carufel on July 12, 2010)