Access to Electronic Resources - General Information

Who can use the University’s Electronic Resources?

Off-campus access is restricted to current faculty, staff, and students at University of Illinois. This includes OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) members, emeritus faculty, and distance students affiliated with U of I. There are not fee-for-access options for persons not affiliated with the University. However, the Library does have public computers within its facilities which give access to our online resources.


  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Current students (including distance students)
  • OLLI members
  • Emeritus faculty

No Access:

  • Alumni
  • Courtesy Card holders
  • Donors
  • Former Employees ((including hourly, civil service, academic professionals, and faculty without emeritus status)
  • Students who are not currently enrolled
  • University Administration
    • Despite physical location, the U of I’s University Administration (UA) is not technically part of campus. UA employees who do not carry faculty or staff appointments on any of the University of Illinois’ campuses cannot access resources licensed on behalf of their registered faculty, staff, and credit-earning students.

Special Cases:

  • Some UIC faculty members carry formal appointments in colleges or departments on the U of I campus. They are considered “dual appointment staff” who have both U of I and UIC Library access privileges. Any faculty member with multiple appointments across campuses should obtain library privileges for each campus (e.g. UI-Springfield faculty members who also have appointments on the UI-Urbana campus gets both UIS and U of I access privileges).
  • Visiting staff must have an official University appointment. This includes appointments “without salary, with appointment” status. It is incumbent upon the HR office serving the department or college in question to ensure that their employees are properly entered into the system. For individuals affiliated through a University program, the relevant unit or academic department must make this determination of affiliation. Designations of affiliation can then be recorded in the HR office serving their department or college.

What is a licensed resource?

A licensed electronic resource is an online database to which the University Library subscribes through a contractual, legal agreement. These can include primary source book/journal collections, streaming video services, digitized primary resources, or collections of other secondary sources such as indexing or reference materials.

Most e-resources allow authorized users to:

  • Print / Download / Quote for teaching/research/personal uses
  • Create links to specific articles rather than a resource home page (e.g. the Libraries regularly creates such “deep links” as a convenience for faculty and students as part of its Electronic Reserves service, which makes customized web pages for specific courses/classes)
  • Email articles to other authorized users

As each campus library support the academic aims of each campus, the libraries typically license access for each campus separately. It is not uncommon for the three University of Illinois campuses to collaborate on such licenses, but the overriding concern at each library is supporting the mission of their home campus.

Most online resources available to users at U of I are acquired via licenses between the vendor and the University. Typically, licenses are priced based upon individual campus’ number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students, although other factors may be used. The University Library handles the majority of U of I licenses for electronic content. When our needs align with other University of Illinois’ campuses or with consortial partners, we may pursue cooperative license agreements.

How does the library/campus ensure that only authorized users have access?

Most vendors limit access to the IP numbers of campus computers. Authorized users wishing to access library-licensed e-resources from off campus may connect through library-created login links. This allows the University Library to verify recognized campus users’ credentials. Users who access licensed e-resources from off-campus through the University Library’s web site will be prompted to log in with their NetID and password.

Although U of I currently keeps student email accounts active (at no charge) for a period of time after the last registration, this extension of email privileges does not include remote access to licensed library resources.

How does the University Library respond to vendor reports of unauthorized use?

The University Library actively works with content providers, campus IT authorities, and other campus units to identify and interrupt unauthorized use of licenses electronic resources. For more information, please see the Library’s Licensed Electronic Information Policy.