Policy UL-AD24 Libraries' Short-Term Access Accounts for Research (STAARs)

Main Policy Content


  • Purpose
  • Background
  • Policy
  • Procedure
  • Assessment


To describe the University Libraries' policy and procedure when issuing Short-Term Access Accounts for Research.


Short-Term Access Accounts (“slim” accounts) are managed by ITS Accounts Services and provide user authentication only to selected Penn State services for specified periods of time.  Full-time Libraries' staff may be authorized to issue these accounts to non-PSU visitors in accordance with the following policy.


STAAR accounts are intended to provide temporary, on-site internet access to facilitate research and scholarly communication, to allow non-PSU visitors to email materials obtained through Libraries' resources, and to provide assistance to community users and to colleagues visiting from peer institutions.  All accounts are issued at the discretion of the University Libraries and the Libraries reserves the right to refuse accounts to anyone without proper identification or based upon evidence of misuse. 

Note about access to licensed resources:  Most licenses to online resources permit on-site access only by non-PSU users.  For this reason, STAAR accounts cannot be issued for the purpose of accessing online licensed resources off-site.  STAAR accounts are not required for on-site access to these resources at designated visitor workstations. 

  • All visitors requesting STAARs must present current (dated and not expired) photo ID issued by a government agency or recognized institution.  Visitors under age 18 without a current photo ID must be accompanied by a guardian with current photo ID.
  • All visitors may be issued accounts for one day only. 
  • Visiting scholars sponsored by University departments may be issued accounts for one day only and referred to their sponsoring departments for longer-term access.
  • At University Park, all STAAR accounts are issued at the Lending Services desk in Pattee Library.

Questions about this policy may be directed to the Head of Access Services at University Park or the Head Librarian at a Commonwealth Campus Library.


  1. Create an account using the online Penn State STAA Distribution Center. Provide complete information about the user, including name, address, type of photo ID and ID number. Accounts should be set to expire after one day.  
  2. Print the online confirmation page displaying the STAA ID and password and give to the user.  Note: This is the only form that needs to be given to the user.  
  3. Remind the user that she/he has agreed to abide by all provisions listed under University Policy AD95 Information Assurance and IT Security


The Manager of Lending and Reserve Services receives monthly reports from ITS Accounts Services listing all STAAR accounts issued by Libraries' staff and reviews these reports periodically to track usage and to ensure policy and procedure compliance.  Regular report summaries will be prepared and made to Libraries' administration for review. 

Effective Date: March 2011
Date Approved: March 28, 2011 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • March 28, 2011 – New policy

Last Review Date:  March 2011