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Library eResources LibGuide: eResources Access and Troubleshooting

General access and support information regarding the library's electronic resources (eBooks, eJournals and databases).


The Library has access to a diverse electronic collection and we understand that it can be daunting learning how to use a wide range of very different eResources.  On this guide, we outline some of the most common problems that users run into when accessing library eResources; provide some basic troubleshooting suggestions; and give advice on what to do or who to contact if you need more help.

This is intended as a very general guide.  For help using specific eResources, or specific types of eResources, browse our LibGuides for subject specific and How To... guides.

Please remember that all users of the Library's electronic resources must comply with the eResources terms of use and with copyright law.  If you need further guidance or help on copyright you can look at the Copyright and Information Governance and Compliance pages of the University website:

eResources Basic Troubleshooting

The most common problems that users encounter when using eResources are being unable to access full text content (or prompted for payment to view the content); or hitting an error message of some kind when following a link or accessing a resource.

Library staff are always happy to help - and if there are problems with any of our eResources please do let us know! (See section on this page on 'Contacting the Library for Help'.)  However, you may be able to sort the problem yourself by trying the steps below.

1. Check our eResources Status page to see if there are currently any known problems with this eResource.

2. Have you logged in on the eResource as a Strathclyde User?  (See section of this guide on 'Logging in as a Strathclyde User'.)

3. Are Strathclyde members entitled to access this content?  Search for the eResource in SUPrimo to see if we should have access. Remember to pay attention to the date ranges stated in SUPrimo records - we may not have access to content from all years - and refer to Authentication Notes for advice on how to login to this particular eResource.

4. Try accessing the eResource via a different route e.g. if you are using a bookmarked link, accessing via Google Scholar etc., then try going via SUPrimo.  If you have followed a SUPrimo article or book chapter record, try searching for the eJournal or eBook title instead and navigating to the section you require.

5. Check that you are using the latest version of your browser, and update this if necessary.  It is worthwhile trying to access the eResource using a different web browser to see if you still experience the problem.*

6. Try clearing your browser cookies and cache and opening the resource again.*

7. Be patient.  Wait for sites to load content or redirect, without clicking elsewhere on the browser.

8. If you are unable to open a downloaded eBook from ProQuest eBook Central, VLeBooks or EBSCOhost eBooks: have you installed Adobe Digital Editions onto your device?  Is your version of Adobe Digital Editions up to date?

9. If you are still experiencing problems or think that something isn't working correctly, then please do contact the library for help or to report an issue.  Information on how to contact the library, and the type of information you can include to help us identify the problem, are included in the 'Contacting the Library for Help' section of this guide.

*steps to check/update your browser version and clear your browser cookies and cache vary depending on the browser you are using. You can find steps for your browser by searching on the internet, but if you require help please ask the library.

eResource Access FAQs

  • Why do I need to sign-in to access a resource from off-campus?  From on-campus it happens automatically.  Many publishers are happy to offer IP authentication to support automatic sign-in for users within the University premises, however the publishers' licences dictate that stricter controls are in place to control access outwith the University campus.
  • I signed-in to see one article and then I could access all of the articles on that publisher's site without needing to sign in separately for each one. Why is this?  When you sign-in to an eResource you are signing in to the platform (site) and not to one individual piece of content. You will remain logged in on that site for the remainder of your session.  Most eResources time users out after a period of inactivity in the browser - the length of the timeout period varies significantly across different eResources.  Sometimes you will find that when you follow a link from one site to another eResource within the same session, your authentication carries across.  For other eResources you will need to sign-in again.
  • How do I know if I am signed in on an eResource?  Look for a 'brought to you by University of Strathclyde' banner or logo somewhere on the site.  These might appear at the top, the bottom, or the side of the page; or they might appear if you click the 'my account' icon.  This does not happen on every eResource, but many platforms do offer this feature to let you know that you have signed in via your institution.  If you are not sure, search for the eResource in SUPrimo, and follow the login instructions in the 'Authentication Notes'.
  • What information can you give me about accessing library eResources using Strathclyde's VPN (Virtual Private Network) service? The majority of University services, including library electronic resources, do not require use of a VPN for off-campus access. Please show consideration to your fellow Strathclyde students and staff, and help lessen demand on our VPN service by only using the VPN where this is the necessary method to support your work or study from off-campus. This is the library's advice generally, but is particularly relevant during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Those who do use the VPN may find that they are now required to sign-in to eResources where previously they were automatically authenticated. This is caused by a recent configuration change made by Information Services, to help reduce the load on the VPN. Those using the VPN and requiring help signing-in to library eResources should follow the guidance provided on this page, which is relevant to all users.
  • I have downloaded an eBook but it won't open - what should I do?  Many of the eBooks on ProQuest Ebook Central, VLeBooks, and EBSCO eBook Collection require Adobe Digital Editions or BlueFire reader to open the downloaded eBook files. More information can be found on our Ebooks LibGuide. Please ensure that your ADE/BlueFire software is uptodate.

Logging in as a Strathclyde User

eResources which have been paid for by the library are only available to University of Strathclyde members.  You will often need to login (authenticate) using your University of Strathclyde DS username and password to access full text content - particularly from off-campus.

Exact login steps vary depending on the specific eResource.  If you are not prompted straight away to enter your University DS login, look for options saying ‘Institutional', 'Shibboleth' or 'Federated' sign-in.  You may need to select your institution (University of Strathclyde) and possibly your 'Federation group' (UK Federation / UK Access Management Federation) before entering your University DS login details.

When you have signed in to one library system or eResource, on some eResources this login will carry over so that you do not need to keep entering your login details; but for other eResources you will be prompted to sign in again.  For security reasons, eResources will often sign you out after a period of browser inactivity.

Once you have signed in on an eResource platform, you will only be able to access full text content that is accessible to University of Strathclyde.  On most eResource platforms there will also be content that the library has not purchased, and our users cannot access.  Check SUPrimo to see if we should have access to content.  Some eResources in the library’s collection are freely available or Open Access and can be accessed by any individual with no requirement to log-in.  [For a list of eResources made temporarily available to Strathclyde users during the COVID-19 pandemic, please see our COVID-19 Library Temporary eResources guide.]

Top Tips

  • Use links from SUPrimo or the Library LibGuides and webpages to access our eResources.  These often make it easier to login to eResources from off-campus. Look for instructions in SUPrimo records (‘Authentication notes’) and in A-Z Databases records (‘more…’ notes) for advice on signing in to a specific eResource.
  • Does the resource show 'Access brought to you by University of Strathclyde' or a Strathclyde logo anywhere on the page?  Not all eResource platforms offer this, but on many platforms a message or logo will display once you are successfully signed in as a Strathclyde user.

Contacting the Library for Help

If you require help using any of our library electronic resources, or come across any access, downtime or technical issues with our eResources which are not listed on the eResources Status page, please let us know at the Library Enquiry Desk.

  • Email:
  • Telephone: 0141 548 4444
  • In person: The main Information Services Enquiry desk is on Level 3 of the Library. We also have enquiry points on Levels 4 and 5.  **Please note that the library building is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Details of current adjustments to Library service provision are available at .


The more information you can provide when reporting an eResource problem, the more quickly library staff will be able to identify and resolve the problem.  When reporting an eResource issue please tell us as much of the following as possible:

About you and your device:

  • About you: Please tell us your name and DS username, and contact details.  It is also helpful if you can tell us whether you are a staff member; or Undergraduate (which year), taught or research Masters Postgraduate, or PhD student.
  • Where are you accessing the eResource from?  Are you on or off-campus?  If you are off-campus, what country are you in?  If you are using a VPN, please tell us this.
  • What type of device are you using? e.g. PC, mac, iphone, android mobile device etc
  • About your web browser:  What browser are you using; have you checked that your browser is up to date; have you tried clearing your cookies and cache and reopening the resource; have you tried using a different browser?  Please try these things; and tell us if you have tried these things, or if you need help to do this.

About the eResource you are trying to access:

  • Which eResource are you trying to access?  Be specific.  Tell us if it is a whole database or a specific piece of content (in which case tell us the title, author, year and volume/issue). 
  • Which site are you accessing the eResource on? Certain eResources are available on multiple platforms. e.g. are you accessing an eBook on VLeBooks or Cambridge University Press website?  Are you accessing a journal on e.g. ScienceDirect or Gale Academic OneFile database?  Give us the URL to the content if you can.
  • How did you attempt to access the eResource? e.g. via a bookmarked link, SUPrimo record, Google Scholar search, MyPlace or Reading List link etc.?  Be as detailed as you can.  Please provide URLs or permalinks to records if possible (to generate permalinks to SUPrimo records, open the full record, scroll to the bottom, click the 'Permalink' icon and copy and paste the link). If you have time to provide screenshots outlining the exact steps you followed and what links you clicked, these are incredibly helpful to the library.

About the problem:

  • What is the problem?  Please describe the problem you are having with this eResource.  If you are getting an error message, please provide screenshots and/or copy and paste the error message into your email.  Please tell us at what point the problem occurs (again - if you can give screenshots of the exact steps you have followed, including any error messages, this is extremely helpful).


We have created some examples of enquiries reporting access problems, where users have provided helpful and less helpful levels of information, and illustrated why this information is helpful to us.

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