The information in this article was adapted from a presentation by William Ransom and Lucy Rosenbloom (Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans) at the February 18th, 2020 Electronic Resource Administrators Inaugural Meeting.
A recording of the original presentation, along with the slide show, can be found here.
When a user is unable to access a resource it is useful to first establish whether, or not, you (the library staff) is able to access the resource. The diagram below illustrates how to narrow down the cause.
Neither Library Staff, nor the User, can access the Resource
If neither you, nor the user, is able to access the resource, you must first establish whether the resource is even something that your library is supposed to have access to.
If after checking your records (annual renewal lists, etc.) you establish that your library does not have access, ask the following questions:
- Is there incorrect or confusing information in a holdings statement that needs correction?
- Has a professor or another source misinformed the user that you have access to the resource?
If your records do indicate that your library should have access, then you need to consider these causes for no one at your institution being able to access the resource:
- There is a hardware issue with the resource provider, such as their servers are down, in which case you might see a page not found error. With EBSCO, you can track service problems and sign up for updates here: https://status.ebsco.com/
- Your EZproxy setup needs updating. If this is the case you'll often see a browser page like this:
- Does the publisher or provider have THEIR records correct? You may need to contact their support, or submit a ticket to them through a portal such as EBSCONet.
- Your IP ranges may need to be updated. Ask IT first if there has been a change. You can, also, verify the IP address of a PC by accessing a site like http://www.whatsmyip.org/ , to check to see if what shows is an IP you have on record. If your IPs have changed, you'll need to let LOUIS know, as well as any vendors to which you subscribe on your own.
- The link being used for access is wrong. Check EBSCO Holdings Management, for example, for old links. Sometimes when a new package is added the old package isn't removed and is still active while the new one remains hidden, or unselected. If the link is from your Enterprise catalog or website, you may need to go directly to the publisher site and compare the URL of the resource with the URL in question.
The User can not access the Resource, but Library Staff can
Sometimes when Library Staff can access a resource, but a patron cannot, it can indicate a problem with the Library's EZproxy, or other authentication system if not using EZproxy.
- There can be a problem with the user's login. If you have access to your EZproxy logs, you can "View audit events" to check for failed login attempts that match the patron's username.
- If you know that the patron is trying to access the resource from off-campus, or a location that would not be IP-authenticated, check that the starting point URL includes your correct proxy prefix.
- There could be a problem with the resource configuration. Check that the stanza in your config.txt file is current. The OCLC Database Stanza page is a good resource for checking current stanzas: https://help.oclc.org/Library_Management/EZproxy/Database_stanzas?sl=en
A patron's inability to access a resource can simply be something on their end.
- There may be a hardware issue on their end. It could be an issue with their home network or ISP.
- They may need to check their browser. Are they using an old browser? Are cookies enabled? Does their cache need to be cleared?
- Are they not using a correct access point? For example, are they trying to access the resource through the vendor's website, instead of the library. This would present them with the wrong login screen, if they're off campus.
- Are they using the wrong username or password? This can be checked in the EZproxy logs. Also, if your site authenticates against the SirsiDynix user file, you can verify that their user ID is not expired.
LOUIS Staff Please Note: The contents of the article are duplicated in the ER L1 Moodle Course. If updates are made to this article, please duplicate them in Moodle.