Remote access to online materials

Learn how to access online library journals, books, and databases from off-campus. 

Off campus access

If you are on campus and connected via ethernet, access to library resources is relatively seamless. Most publishers use your IP address for authentication, i.e., if you have a University of Minnesota IP address, the publisher will recognize it and give you access.

If you are off campus or accessing via Wi-Fi or mobile network, then you will need to be routed through the Libraries' proxy server. When you access library resources through the Libraries Search or the Databases A-Z list, this process happens automatically. You can also direct a URL through the proxy manually, by preceding the URL with the prefix

For example, the URL

can be given the prefix and reentered as:

This will provide off-campus users with the same access they would have on campus.

Please note: Manually adding the proxy prefix will only work on websites that have been set up for proxying. If you receive an error, try searching for the resource in the Libraries Search, as access may be available on another platform.

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Proxy bookmarklet

Many people prefer to search for resources using Google or Google Scholar. In order to access a resource using a non-affiliated search engine, you will need to apply the proxy prefix manually. You can use the proxy bookmarklet to make this easier.

To get your browser to route you through the Libraries’ proxy server, try the following:

Drag this button up to your bookmarks toolbar in your browser: (or right-click to save it to your favorites toolbar)

Reload via U of M Libs

Now, when you're on a web page that you'd like to redirect through the proxy server, click the button in your toolbar. This will reload the web page with the proxy prefix appended. You can then navigate around the website without needing to reapply the proxy.

Both the bookmarklet and the URL prefix should work whether you are accessing resources on campus or remotely. This can be useful for saving URLs to a laptop or citation manager, or if you want to share an article with a colleague or student.

While this will work for the vast majority of electronic resources we license, there are a few publishers that require more intricate authentication. Let us know if you have questions or any difficulties with this!

Watch a short video on the proxy bookmarklet

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Using the University of Minnesota’s Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Another option for accessing Libraries materials remotely is using the University of Minnesota’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). This option requires installing the VPN software or app on your computer or device, but the access works much like being connected on campus via ethernet. Publishers recognize the VPN’s IP address and authenticate users automatically. This means you shouldn’t have to log in to your account as often as you do when accessing from off campus or using the proxy bookmarklet.

You can find instructions on how to install Cisco AnyConnect on IT@UMN’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) page. Once installed, log in to the VPN using your UMN login. 

For access to library resources, you must use the Full Tunnel setting. Please use the link above for instructions on setting up Full Tunnel access, and contact Technology Help if you need assistance.

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Cache/cookies and private/incognito windows

Many remote access issues are caused by old data stored in your browser’s cache and cookies. If you receive an error message, try copying and pasting the website URL into a different browser or into a private/incognito window. If you don’t receive the error message in the new window, it means there is an issue with your browser’s saved data. You can find instructions on how to clear your saved data by visiting the IT@UMN page, Reset or Clear Browser Cache and Cookies.

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