How to access online resources when off campus

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Access to online resources available through the library (such as Web of Science, JSTOR, SpringerLink, MathSciNet, ScienceDirect,...) is generally controlled by the IP address that your browser is coming from, which needs to be on campus.



SOCKS proxy allows you to access the web from a browser through any machine you can connect to by ssh.

  1. In Firefox->Preferences->Network->Settings->Manual Proxy Configuration: Enter in SOCKS Host box and the port (say, 8080)
  2. Connect to the host you want to use as proxy by ssh -D 8080 user@hosts and leave the ssh session open (replace user@host by your own user name and host name.)

That is all, it's really so simple! Configuration for other browsers is often similar, but when the browser is so tightly woven into the system that there is little difference between system network settings and browser settings and it dumps you into a system network configuration page (such as Safari on Mac and MS Internet Explorer on Windows), it's better to leave it alone - you may be changing settings for all your browsers without realizing it or your internet connection may stop working completely.

SOCKS proxy works also for https, video streaming, etc. For more details see this guide.

It would be a good idea to use one browser for the proxy only and do all your other web in another browser because

  • you have to keep the ssh connection active
  • all of your web traffic through the proxy is monitored by the university where the proxy host is - do you really want them to see all the places where you go?

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

UCD offers Cisco VPN which makes your computer effectively a part of the campus network.


  • VPN affects all your connections not just one browser and takes some work to install.
  • It is too easy to forget and leave the VPN connection active.
  • All of your traffic through the VPN is monitored by the university - do you really want them to see all the places where you go?
  • The university plans to discontinue VPN and replace by remote desktops. These can be configured to share your computer filesystem but saving files requires some navigation.

Both VPN and remote desktop may not work well and may drop out frequently over marginal connections, such as from coffee shops, hotels, and overseas locations.

Library proxy

If you navigate to the resource through you get connected through their proxy. But it takes some work to navigate to a journal article this way. On the other hand, often a resource is accessible in several ways, and we are licensed only for some. Navigating to it through the library should lead you to the right way.

You can use the library proxy directly with a URL by encapsulating it in theirs like this:

The library proxy works only with URLs on their list and blocks all others.

The library proxy is robust and quite reliable. If you get a proxy error page, which happens rarely, just reload the original page.

Other ways to navigate to an article

  • Search for the journal in the library catalog and navigate to the article.
  • Type the DOI to the resolver through the library proxy by
  • Connect by a proxy to a database such as MathSciNet or Web of Science and use an "article" of "full text" link.
  • Search for the journal through Gold Rush

When you are denied access

Since the ranges of IP addresses that publishers use are not always up to date, if one of the methods above does not work (you are denied access or the site wants a login or payment), try another one. If nothing works this means the school does not pay for the subscription. This is the case with off-ball publishers and old issues of journals that major publishers post online. You can always request the article by interlibrary loan - some librarian somewhere will scan it from a hardcopy - even if the article may be available online.

See also

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