Remote Access Problem Troubleshoot

When you have trouble using an electronic resource from your own computer, the following may help you troubleshoot:


Access Path

If you go directly to a database's homepage rather than using a link from a Library Web Site, the database may not be able to recognize you as an Alexandria Library user. If you prefer to bookmark a url to access certain resources, ask a librarian to help you find the appropriate library scripted links.



Many databases send "cookies" when you connect to them to verify that you are an authorized user. Check the setting of your browser, change it to accept cookies, or selectively accept cookies from the database vendors.



Many electronic resources depend upon JavaScript for some or all of their functionality. If access or searching is not working correctly, check to make sure your browser is set to accept JavaScript.


Some anti-virus programs can prevent JavaScripts from executing. Temporarily disabling your anti-virus program could fix the problem, but is inherently dangerous for your computer. Do so at your own risk.


Pop-Up Windows

Some databases may depend on pop-up windows for certain functions. Check if you are using pop-up blocking features in your browser.



Some firewall programs can block your access to the remote authentication server. Disable it, or add the server address as a "trusted site" to your firewall software's list.


If you are accessing from work or from a commercial location, contact the server administrator at your location to see if access is available to you through their firewall, or if the site can be added as a trusted site.


Trouble Viewing or Printing

Most documents are in pdf format, which requires Adobe Reader to open and display. Make sure you have the latest version of the Reader installed on your computer.


Many pdf files are quite large. This can cause problems when you are on a slow connection. A common symptom is that, after you click a link to open the file, the Adobe Reader window comes up, but the document remains blank. In such cases, download the file onto your hard drive first before viewing and printing.


If you are unable to print, try using the print button in the Reader window, instead of the browser.


Adobe Reader can be configured to open within the browser itself, or as a separate window. With some resources and certain versions of browsers, you get a blank screen when opening a pdf within the browser. You may need to change your configuration to open pdf files in the Adobe Reader as an separate application.



If you get a message indicating that you do not have access to a particular resource, one possible reason is a limitation on group privileges. Telephone or email Library Reference with the following information:

  • which resource you are trying to access
  • your login name
  • the error message you got
  • your name and Patron ID number


Other Things to Try

  • clear your browser's cache, then quit and relaunch the browser
  • use a different Web browser


Get Help

If you cannot access the resources after checking these issues, ask a librarian for help.