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University Library

Electronic Resources Training

Most Common Reasons behind Access Issues

  • Login Errors:  The login errors can be complex.  You often hear from users that they can't access library resources.  It requires some diagnoses.  
  • OpenURL: The link is incorrectly formatted or missing data
  • Index: an article is not being indexed by the database/journal.
  • EZProxy: Authentication Issue
  • eBook Restrictions: some ebooks have one user, three-user concurrent access limitations. Please see eBook LibGuide for more details. 
  • Sign-in for More Options: often patrons forget to don't have access to everything in Onesearch. They need to request some items through InterLibrary Loan (ILL).
  • Subscription/Vendor: This can include the following three scenarios:
    • We no longer have a current subscription to a resource
    • We should have access but the vendor didn't set up properly
    • The user didn't access the resource via the Library web

Only the electronic resources team is expected to know all the in's and out's of identifying and diagnose access issues, but it is helpful when non-electronic resources personnel who directly work with students and users have some background knowledge so you can troubleshoot right on the spot. And more importantly, these tips can help you assist users in working around the access issue and obtaining the material they need. 

These quick help tips can get you to start on the right track to diagnose any access issues. 

  • Make sure the user EZProxy login follows the following login rule: place the user name only,  not;
  • If the user still cannot log in, they need to be directed to the ITS Help Desk at, so their campus portal credentials can be checked;
  • Have the user clear off their cache, saved password, try a different browser!;
  • For off-campus users: advise them to try using the campus VPN for accessing library resources;
  • Direct users to Report an Electronic Resources Problem form;
  • Learn more about OpenURL;
  • Learn more about EZProxy.

Login Errors

Access to certain electronic resources is restricted to the Cal State LA community (currently enrolled students, faculty & staff) due to licensing/copyright agreements with vendors and publishers. If you are using a computer on campus (such as those in the library and computer labs) you will be automatically connected to library e-resources; no log-in is required.

When you access library electronic resources from off-campus, you need to use one of the following methods.

  1. Campus Virtual Private Network, or VPN (Recommended)
    • Setting up VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your personal computer allows students, faculty, and staff to access library resources from off-campus.  Download the VPN Client for remote access. It's often more reliable than the Proxy method and faster, too!
  2. EZProxy
    • The Library's web site provides seamless access to electronic resources. When you click a link to a database, article, e-book, etc. you will be prompted to log in to the proxy server with your MyCalStateLA username and password. After logging in, you will be directed automatically to the desired resource. Cookies must be enabled on your browser for EZ Proxy to work. Learn how to enable cookies for Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox.

When login errors occur they lead to inaccessibility to full-text content.  The followings are some major login errors and how to fix them.

  • Denied login using EZProxy
    Normally, when you try to access the library electronic resources from a database (e.g., Academic Search Complete) or via OneSearch result, you are prompted with the EZProxy login box.  You must follow the login rules by entering your user name only
    without  If you include, it may lead to a denied access. 
  • Identity Protection Software Getting in the Way
    Identity Protection Software ( e.g., GhostSurf ) will modify the way your computer communicates with our EZProxy server. Identity Protection Software must be disabled before accessing the Library databases.
  • Saved Password
    Every time you log in to a new website or database, the web browser will automatically load a pop-up message asking whether you want to save your username and password.  If you have unintentionally clicked on "Save", your password is saved on the browser.  This saved password will not automatically be updated when you change your password.  When you login using your new password, it will lead to denied access.  To clear off these saved passwords, following steps for different browsers.  
    Internet Browser Delete Saved Password Steps
    • In the menu bar, click the three dashed lines in the upper right corner
    • Select Passwords
    • Select any application with saved passwords and click Remove 
    • To eliminate all existing passwords, click the three dots on the upper right corner, and select Remove all logins.
    (Mac OS)
    • In the menu bar, open the Firefox menu
    • Select Preferences
    • Go to the Security tab (older versions of Firefox will list this as Privacy)
    • Select Saved Passwords To eliminate all existing password, select Remove all.
    • To eliminate specific saved passwords, select View Saved Passwords and delete just those associated with the page you're removing. If you wish, deselect the option for Remember passwords - this will prevent passwords from being saved in the future.
    Google Chrome
    • Open the Chrome menu (in newer versions this will appear as three dots on the upper right corner)
    • Select Settings
    • Click Passwords under Autofill
    • Select any application you plan to remove under Saved Passwords, and click Remove by clicking the three dots on the right of the application.
    Google Chrome
    • Open the Chrome menu (this will appear as three dots in the upper right corner)
    • Select Settings
    • Select Passwords
    • Turn off Save Passwords.
    • In the menu bar, open the Safari menu
    • Select Preferences
    • Go to the Autofill tab
    • Click the Edit button for Usernames and Passwords
    • Delete the corresponding entry
    • Open the Settings app
    • Select Safari
    • Under General, select Passwords & Autofill
    • Select Saved Passwords
    • To view the password, tap the webpage and enter in your phone passcode. To delete select the Edit button and choose Delete for any websites that should be forgotten.
    Microsoft Edge
    • Open the More actions menu (this will appear as three dotted lines in the upper right corner)
    • Select Settings
    • Select Passwords
    • Under Saved Passwords, select any application with saved password, click the three dotted line, and click Delete
    Internet Explorer

    To delete individual passwords, highlight the username pre-filled on the screen and select the Delete (not backspace) key. To delete all saved passwords:

    • Open the Tools menu (in newer versions this will appear as a gear icon in the upper right corner)
    • Select Internet Options
    • Select Content
    • Under AutoComplete, select Settings
    • Click Delete AutoComplete history if you want to remove all saved passwords
    • To prevent AutoComplete in the future, make sure AutoComplete is deselected for User names and passwords on forms.
    • If you don't want to delete all of your saved password, select Manage Passwords, and then select those applications you want the saved passwords to be removed, and click Remove one at a time.


OpenURL Example

OpenURL linking problems tend to be found in articles within EBSCO and Gale databases as shown below. To troubleshoot, you can

  • add metadata to reach the full-text record
  • use the citation information to locate the full text
  • search the article title in Google Scholar
  • go directly through the journal search and track down the article using the citation information

Example of Missing Data

You can add the article title and updated the Vol. to 56/57 and the Issue to 2/1, then removed the date data. This now leads to full-text access after clicking the submit button.

Further Reading

Index Examples

Example 1: Patron reported they used OneSearch to locate an article and all three access points did not lead to full-text. 

Steps to Diagnose and Troubleshoot

1. Use the Citation Information from OneSearch to perform a Journal search to track down the article

2. As you can see we should have full-text access to vol.13 no. 2 in 2012

3.  Click the full-text coverage date range, go to 2012 to locate the correct vol/issue. The results page show only one available article, which indicates the rest of the articles in that vol/issue are most likely not indexed. 

Example 2: Journal Missing Years

You can use the citation information to locate an article directly through a Journal search.  You can find the Journals search on the Library homepage below the OneSearch box.

We'd appreciate it that you report the type of access issue using Report Electronic Resources Problem form.

EZproxy Error

All electronic resources (databases, ebooks, ejournals, streaming videos, etc.) are required to be authenticated for access.  At Cal State LA, we use EZProxy.  We need to place all of our resources in our EZProxy configuration file.  If in some case, we missed one, or the resource changed its configuration, you will see the following message when you click a link to try to access the full-text. 

If you see a message that looks like the one above, please report it by emailing Holly Yu at Make sure you include a screenshot of the message. 


for More Options

When users select the option "Search beyond Cal State" in OneSearch, or when they select the CSU Collections search option, they need to sign in with their MyCalStateLA account credentials to see other options.  These options include

  • Request a book from other CSUs using CSU+ if the user would like to get a book from another CSU
  • Request an article via ILLiad interlibrary loan when the library doesn't carry the article



Subscription & Vendor

Subscription Related Issue

If a journal is cancelled with no perpetual access entitlements and it is not removed from the public display,  then this will lead to users trying to access content they believe they should have access to but do not.  Or sometimes due to our late payment, vendor could turn off our access. There is no easy way for non electronic resources staff to determine current subscription status for our subscriptions. Check with electronic resources personnel for subscription information.

Vendor/Publisher Setup Issue 

An example would be if we have started a subscription, but vendor has not set up at their end yet, or in the case of a new journal subscription, we have not registered at the publisher end yet.  There is no easy way for non electronic resources staff to determine these types of problems.  You can report these issues using the report form.

Can't Access Full-text Articles

There can be a variety of issues that users cannot access a full-text articles.  When that happens, you can try the following methods:

1. Via Journals search
You can search the journal by going to the Journals link on the library homepage (  You can find the Journals link right below the OneSearch box.  Enter the journal title, and then track down the article based on the year, volume, and issue numbers on the article citation.

2. Use Google Scholar
You can also try to search the article using Google Scholar.  You can find Google Scholar on the Library homepage under the OneSearch box. 

3. Use VPN
Also, when you cannot login via EZProxy, try to use VPN.  VPN can help you fundamentally resolve the login issue.  Here is the campus VPN download information: It takes a few minutes to download, and once you turn it on, the VPN allows you to work as if you were on campus without any further login.
4. Access Library Resource and Search Directly
It often causes login issues if access via the campus portal (MyCalStateLA).  You may want to access library OneSearch directly from the library homepage at, or click the Library link from the campus main page.   The Library link is just next to the campus portal link.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300