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Using the Proxy Server to Access Library Resources from Off Campus: Home

How to use the William and Mary proxy server to access restricted library resources from off-campus.


The proxy prefix is included if you copy a link to a database from Swem's Library Databases list.

The Proxy Prefix

Situation: You want to embed a link to library resources into Blackboard.

Problem: Students will access the links from off-campus and vendors limit access to W&M staff and students.

Solution: Pass the link through the proxy server by inserting a proxy prefix to the front of the URL. When the student authenticates with his W&M user id and password it will appear to the vendor as if the student is coming from on-campus.

This is the proxy prefix that you place in front of a link to make the vendor think you are on campus:

If you are linking to Jstor, the URL will look like this:

Why do We Need to Do This?

The vendors from whom we get our many databases restrict access to college employees and actively enrolled students. The vendor's servers will recognize when you are connecting to a database or database article from on-campus. This is called IP authentication. If you are off-campus, the vendor will assume that you are not authorized to access their materials. To get around this problem we use a proxy server which makes the vendor think you are on campus.

The proxy prefix forces a detour on the way to the destination by first checking to see if the library resource requires authentication and then prompting the user to enter their W&M user id and password. Without this prefix links to library resources will only be accessible from on campus.

Authtication is only required once for a browser session. After you authenticate you won't be asked again unless you close the browser window.

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Sara Belmont's picture
Sara Belmont