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Frequently Asked Questions



Will I need to log in when I am on campus?  Yes. You will need to log in through OpenAthens both on and off campus. However, you will only need to log in once for each session, which will last until the browser is closed or inactive for a significant period. UBC Library no longer supports authentication through myVPN, departmental VPN, or IP authentication. 
Why has the library changed authentication methods?  OpenAthens offers increased security and control of library resources, reduces service interruptions, and allows library users to access e-resources across library databases and publisher websites with just one log in. OpenAthens offers single sign-on, integrated with UBC’s authentication service, to access the library’s subscription-based content. OpenAthens is a “gateway” service to facilitate access to publisher content. It does not include any content of its own.
Is OpenAthens transmitting my personal information to publishers?  No. UBC has configured OpenAthens to create user accounts that consist of a unique opaque identifier for each user. OpenAthens does not share this unique opaque identifier with publishers. For enterprise (CWL) users such as UBC students, staff and faculty, personal information such as a user's name or email address is never transmitted to OpenAthens. For OpenAthens access account users (non-CWL), OpenAthens stores the user's account information and creates a unique opaque identifier to represent that user, which is not transmitted to publishers. UBC's OpenAthens service is Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) compliant. 
Once I have signed in via OpenAthens, how long does the session last?  An OpenAthens session typically lasts until the browser is closed or is inactive for a significant period.
Why do I sometimes see two “UBC” options when I sign in on a publisher’s website?  Choose "University of British Columbia (UBC Library)" when possible and you will be directed to login using your CWL. UBC belongs to a number of consortia and federations that may be providing lists of members to OpenAthens for authentication purposes. As an OpenAthens member, you may see different versions of "UBC" in the "institutional login" menus on publisher websites.
Why can I sign in via OpenAthens on only some publisher websites? 

Some publishers are members of the OpenAthens federation, in which case they are abiding by a common set of rules on how authorization credentials are passed to service providers using a standard called SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language). These "federated" resources will provide the option of logging in directly through their websites, usually via an "institutional login" link. Choose "University of British Columbia Library OpenAthens" and you will be directed to login using your CWL. Some publishers that are not part of the OpenAthens federation will offer a login option on their website that is not connected with OpenAthens and therefore will not accept UBC credentials.

For the most consistent experience, we recommend using the UBC Library website as the starting point for searches and access to e-resources. Click the "Login" button at top right to begin your session, and to ensure you are seeing all available search results. 

I prefer to access resources directly through publisher websites. Why is the login experience so variable?  Each publisher or resource provider offers a slightly different login experience. Look for a sign in or login link or button, usually at the top of your screen. You might be asked to select your Federation which is "OpenAthens" or "Institutional".
Can library users access library resources without visiting the library website first?

Yes, however we still recommend using the library website as a jumping-off point for the most consistent experience. Click the "Login" button at the top right of the library homepage to begin your session.

When visiting a publisher website that supports OpenAthens, library users will see a Sign In option. The login will ask the user to identify their home institution. To log in, ignore any Username or Password fields and search for University of British Columbia via the institutional lookup field. From there, log in using your CWL credentials. If UBC subscribes to the resource the user is trying to access, the user should be granted access to the resource. Each resource provider will offer a slightly different experience.

I have an OpenAthens account from UBC Library and I forgot my password, can I reset it? Note: This item does not apply to people with a CWL. Yes. Select "Problems signing in?" from the OpenAthens account login screen to generate an email that will allow you to reset your password. You must use the same email address that you provided when your account was created. 
What is the difference between OpenAthens and myVPN? Authentication via OpenAthens is required to access UBC Library resources from any location. myVPN uses encryption to protect data and prevent others from "listening in" on the data that is transferred between your computer and the campus network. Some UBC services require myVPN to be enabled when users are connecting from off-campus. myVPN no longer grants access to UBC Library resources. 
I use my department's VPN to connect to library resources. Will I experience a change? Yes. Some departments have a dedicated VPN pool that assigns users a local department-managed IP rather than the general myVPN IP. Over time, as EZproxy is decommissioned, these IPs will be removed from vendor/publisher systems and sign-in via OpenAthens will be required (generally once per session). 
Is there any benefit to logging in to OpenAthens before I begin my search on the library website? Yes. Some publishers require that users authenticate in order to view bibliographic/item data through a search tool like Summon, which powers the "General" search box on the UBC Library home page. For many searches this will not significantly affect results, but in some subject areas many relevant results could be excluded. In general, it’s a good practice to be logged in with OpenAthens when searching using Summon. To start a new session, click “LOGIN” at the top right of any Library web page and choose “OpenAthens Login”. After searching in Summon,click on “Login to view all available results” if it appears upper right. It is important that those using OpenAthens accounts (as opposed to CWL) do both steps in this order.

FAQ: Specific Databases



How do I login to EBSCO databases?

Option 1: You can login to any EBSCO databases through this Resource page.  

Option 2: If you go directly to an EBSCO website you will see an EBSCO login screen (screenshot provided below). You need to scroll down below and select OpenAthens login, then login with your CWL if you are a UBC student, staff or faculty, or use your OpenAthens Account ID if you have been issued one.

screenshot of ESBCO login screen with OpenAthens at bottom of page 

How do I access the EBSCO My Account features? Full instructions are available here
How do I log in to Taylor & Francis eBooks?

On a user’s initial visit to the Taylor & Francis ebook site, after authenticating via OpenAthens, they will be asked to begin to set up an account.

When asked to identify your Country/Region, select “Canada”.

Ignore the box for “Marketing Materials”.

Tick box to agree to “Terms & Conditions”.

You will be then identified as “User” for this and all future visits. You can choose to update “User” with your own info, but for privacy reasons, you may choose to ignore this option.

Note: Similar experiences have been reported on other sites on initial visits.