Electronic Resources Troubleshooting

Electronic resources can have problems for a variety of reasons. This page will aid you in collecting necessary information and basic troubleshooting. You can also refer to the Library Technology web page for more information. A few things to note:

  • Authorized users include: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign staff, faculty, faculty emeriti, visiting scholars (with NetIDs), University High students, and currently enrolled students (including over the summer if they are enrolled in Fall classes).
  • Just because someone is affiliated with the university (i.e. they have a public borrowing card, work in the research park, or are not currently enrolled in classes), does not mean they are authorized to use electronic resources. Having access to the VPN does not make one an authorized user. The Library does not create visitor accounts. For further details, see the library’s FAQ on who can use the Library’s online resources. Other questions on which user groups have access should be referred to Technology Services or the Electronic Resources staff.

Is the user on campus or off?

On Campus

  • To verify whether they are at an on-campus location via their IP address, point them to https://www.whatismyip.com/ip-address-lookup/. Full list of campus IP ranges: Guide to University of Illinois IP Spaces.
  • Are they starting from the Library website? Encourage users to start from the Library website no matter where they are.
  • Have they tried clearing the cache in their browser? Clearing the cache removes previous or outdated authentication and session information that browsers tend to retain.
  • Have they tried using incognito or private browsing mode? Sometimes this is useful to try, especially if the user does not want to clear their whole browser’s cache.
  • Have they tried using a different browser? Some resources will not work with a particular browser or there may be a setting a user has chosen in a particular browser that is interfering with the functionality of the resource
  • If the user is still experiencing access issues after following these steps, they should report the problem to ERTech with their location and IP address.

Off Campus

  • Are they connecting through the Library website (preferred method) via Easy Search or another of our search tools? These paths will prompt the user to login with their U of I NetID and password. The only exception is for Google Scholar users who are set up with their Library Links. Users will have to authenticate via 2 Factor Authentication using this method.
  • Are they connecting through the VPN? Users need to make sure the “Tunnel All” field is selected in order to access Library resources. Users with satellite internet may have problems using the proxy and should use the VPN. The VPN does not require 2 Factor Authentication.
  • Have they tried clearing the cache in their browser? Clearing the cache removes previous or outdated authentication and session information that browsers tend to retain.
  • Have they tried using incognito or private browsing mode? Sometimes this is useful to try, especially if the user does not want to clear their whole browser’s cache.
  • Have they tried using a different browser? Some resources will not work with a particular browser or there may be a setting a user has chosen in a particular browser that is interfering with the functionality of the resource
  • Have they tried installing the proxy bookmarklet in their browser’s toolbar? If a subscription-based resource doesn’t recognize that you are affiliated with the U of I and prompts you to pay for the article, you can click the proxy bookmarklet so that it will then prompt you to login as a U of I user then reload the page giving you full access. The Library Technology proxy bookmarklet page has installation instructions for different browsers.
  • Have they tried manually adding the proxy string to the resource URL? If the user is off campus and is trying to access a link for a resource (that we provide) that does not include the proxy information, such as a database permalink, they can add it by editing the URL. Just add https://proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login?url= to the beginning of the link, for example: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25432036 would become
    https://proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/25432036
    Note: if the electronic resource provides a “stable URL” or “permalink” use this as the base URL instead of the address shown in the browser’s address bar. You can find more information about creating persistent links in our How to Find Articles guide.
  • If the user is still experiencing access issues after following these steps, they should report the problem to ERTech with their location and IP address.

Further Troubleshooting Options

Specific Error Messages

      • Hostname Error: If a user gets a hostname error when going to an electronic resource, copy and paste the error and submit a ticket to ERTech.
      • Certificate Warning: If a user sees a certificate warning, they should contact ERTech as well.
      • Simultaneous Users: If you receive a message that we’ve used all of our seats or simultaneous users (or something to that effect), tell the user to try again after a while. These are usually niche resources that do not get a lot of user. Often times someone has logged in, left the window open, and needs to time out before someone else can get access. If this is a persistent problem with a particular resource, make a referral to the relevant subject specialist who can look into buying more seats.

Electronic Resource Logins

      • If a resource asks for a login and the user is either on campus or logged in via the proxy, check the subscription information in the library catalog. If it shows that we should have access to that particular resource (look closely at the holdings/year information), then you need to submit a ticket to ERTech. ERTech will verify our subscription information and will either update the information displayed in the catalog or contact the vendor about access problems.

Inconsistencies in Electronic Access Data

      • Sometimes, the subscription/access information in the catalog may be wrong. This is common if a database drops content from a particular publisher, and the embargo changes, or holdings have changed. If you note that it says that X journal has holdings from X dates and does not, submit a ticket to ERTech. There is also a link to a web form at the bottom of each record in the catalog that will pass along the web page/record that you were in when you clicked the link to fill out the form.

Submitting an ERTech Ticket

    • When individuals have problems accessing e-resources, it is best for them to fill out an ERTech Request or click on “report a problem” on any catalog record.
    • If you are reporting an issue, submit the ticket via email through Reflib and include the following information:
      • Location (on/off campus)
      • Complete citation (if possible)
      • A specific account of the problem (i.e. what search was being done)
      • How you got there (Google? A bookmark? A URL? The catalog? The Databases by Subject and A-Z list? A LibGuide? A web page?)
      • The browser you are using
      • Your full name in the signature line