Information Services

Why can't I access an e-resource?

If you are having problems accessing any e-resources i.e. e-journals, databases, e-books and streaming videos, there are several general points that you should always check first.

Are you accessing the resource through the correct route?

It is always best to access e-resources through DiscoverEd or our AZ lists, as this will ensure that the resource provider knows that you are from the University of Edinburgh. If a resource has specific login instructions this will also be displayed. Some sites may have alternative login options but this will not always be the case.

Your University Login is required for access to e-resources.  Retired staff and alumni have alternative arrangements to access some of our e-resources.

Does the Library subscribe to the resource you are trying to access?

If the Library does not subscribe to the e-journal, database, e-book or streaming video, then you will not be able to get access to this resource.

Most e-resources that you will have access to through the University Library have been bought by the University under subscription. The University has paid the publishers or service providers so that you can access this material for free. 

Subscribed e-resources will be listed on our AZ lists, with title-level e-resources and articles available via DiscoverEd.

Does the Library’s subscription to an e-journal cover the time period you require?

The Library currently provides access to over 200,000 e-journals, mostly from the mid-1990s onwards with older archive material being bought when possible. However, each subscription to each e-journal title is different and the same years will not be available for every title.

You will only have access to full-text articles from within the subscription time period. If the article you are looking for falls outside of this period then free access to full-text material will not be available.

You can find out the subscription time period for each journal title using DiscoverEd.

Are you trying to access the resource through the correct service provider?

E-resources can be available for subscription through several different service providers or publisher sites. Access will only be available to you through the service provider(s) with whom the Library has a subscription.

For example, Journal X is available through the following service providers: Highwire Press and Ovid. The Library has subscribed to this title through Ovid, so access to Journal X will only be available through this site. Highwire will not give free access.

Service providers like ScienceDirect, Wiley Online Library, Ovid, etc., provide access to thousands of e-journals but the Library does not subscribe to every title. Just because you may find an e-journal you wish to look at on one of these sites does not mean you will get access through that site.

Are there specific log-in instructions for the resource?

Some resources may require you to register with them before you can get access. Others may require you to follow a set path once into the resource to get logged in. And there are a small number of resources that may also require a separate username and password.

DiscoverEd or the AZ list entry will detail any specific login instructions for each resource.

Can the resource only be accessed on campus?

There are still a very small number of e-resources that are limited to on-campus use only. Off-campus access to these resources is only available through the Virtual Private Network (VPN). The VPN allows you to connect to the University network from off-campus.

VPN information

E-resources FAQs

If you have followed all of the above and you are still having difficulties with access, then the following FAQs may be of use:

Related Links