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Electronic Resources Help: Solutions to Common Access Problems

Online guidance and information about the Library's electronic resources


Below are a few quick tips and solutions to common issues with e-resources.  If you cannot find an answer here then please do get in touch by emailing us at

Quick Tips / Solutions to common E-Resources problems

In most cases, you should be able to access electronic resources off campus, exactly as you would do on campus. There are only a few resources which are restricted to on campus use only and this will be specified on the Library Catalogue. However, sometimes it can be slightly more complicated accessing resources from off campus, so here are some tips on how to make this easier:

1. Log in via the Electronic Library or Library Catalogue

A lot of resources authenticate by IP address, which is fine if you are on campus, but won’t work if you are off campus, so where possible please try to log in via the Library Search Page, as this will ensure that you are fully authenticated.

2. Check for an Institutional login option

If you are trying to access resources directly from publishers’ sites etc. please look for ‘Institutional login’ or ‘UK Federation’ links and follow the steps on screen to select the University of Exeter and log in using your UoE username and password.  Again, where possible please try to log in via the Library Search Login, as this will ensure that you are fully authenticated.

3. Check for additional usernames and passwords

In some cases, an additional username and password is required for off campus access. Please consult the list of usernames and passwords.

4. Dial-up or VPNs (Virtual Private Network)

Although it is not necessary to use dial-up or VPN to access electronic resources off campus, some people may find it useful. A dial-up or VPN connection will allow you to access the University network from home or from any other location with an Internet connection, making it appear to resource providers like you are on campus. Further information on dial-up and VPNs can be found on the IT Services webpages.

5. Check your local settings

Some computers have security software which may interfere with access to the library’s electronic resources.  Access to electronic resources requires that you allow cookies (including some 3rd party cookies) and that your network allows you to be routed through the library’s proxy server.  You may also need to enable pop-ups in your browser.  Please check this with your local IT support.  

6. Clear cookies & cache in the event of errors

If you are encountering error messages when logging into electronic resources when on and off campus the most common error is caused by stored information on the browser causing conflicts. To rectify these please follow the instructions here: Clear Cookies and Cache.

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