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Using Resources


When a library subscribes to a database, such as JSTOR, the publisher of the database needs to ensure that only authorised users (usually staff and students of the subscribing institution) are able to use the database. On-campus, this is often ensured by registering the IP numbers of the institution's computers with the database supplier. When you login to a database on campus it is likely that you will never know that you are using IP secured access to a database.

However, students and staff often want to access these databases off-campus (eg at home) so other methods of ensuring that you are an authorised user need to be adopted.


In the UK one of the most common ways of providing off-campus access to electronic resources is using the Athens access management system. Athens allows you to login to a range of electronic resources from different suppliers using a single username and password. The use of single sign-on technology means that, until you close your browser, you will usually only need to enter your username and password once.

You will usually need to go into your library and register for your Athens username and password before you can use your Athens account off-campus. Details of how to register for your Athens username and password will usually be available on your library's website, for example here are the Athens help pages for University College London.

Other usernames and passwords

Not all electronic resources suppliers choose to use the Athens system. Therefore, your library will usually provide you details of which username and password you need to access each particular resource. Here are the access details of the databases that are available from the University of London Research Library Services. Unfortunately, due to publisher restrictions, some of the databases will not be available off-campus.

Access via the library catalogue

Increasingly, suppliers of library management systems or the library catalogue are developing technologies to allow libraries to provide off-campus access to their electronic resources via the library catalogue. This often involves using the barcode number on your library card and a PIN number.

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