The vendors from whom we get our many databases restrict access to university 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.
Authentication is only required once for a browser session. After you authenticate, you won't be asked again unless you close the browser window.
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 their 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: