Library Tools: Learn to use the Library Remotely



This Quest will enable you to say “I can:”

  • Access library resources like journals from off-campus
  • Quickly find journal articles using Google Scholar
  • Have Google Scholar redirect searches through your library’s databases

Why This Quest

If you are a student at a college or university, your library pays for you to have access to a bunch of electronic resources. If you are on campus, the various providers can tell by your IP address know where you are. (That is, the university tells them "If anyone comes to your site from this range of IP addresses, they are at our university. If you don't understand, type "IP address" into Google for some more info.) That is great if you live or work on campus, but what if you are at home? What if you read an article that is cited and you have the DOI? (What is a DOI? It is like a URL for a journal article. You can find out from the [DOI Foundation]( or [Wikipedia]( Often you can get to a publisher's web site that tells you about the article, but when you click the "download full text" link, you get a page that says "No problem! Just give us your credit card and $40 and we will let you download it." Even if you have an infinite supply of money, typing in your credit card number every time you want to download an article is tedious. You do not want to do that. You want to learn how to use your university's proxy server.

Install EZProxy Redirect

Many universities use a proxy server called EZProxy. It works by changing the url like this:

Actual URL:

EXproxy URL:

So, if your University uses EZproxy, you can just add your university's proxy name after the hostname of the site you are trying to access. (That is, add after Just click up there where the web address is and add in that It works. It's a little cumbersome, though not quite as bad as typing a credit card number. Thankfully, someone else got annoyed by this problem and wrote a Chrome extension called EZProxy Redirect. If you install it (and configure it for your university by right-clicking the icon, choosing "options", and then selecting your university), you can click on an icon that looks like a book and the current page will be redirected through your university's proxy server.

NOTE: EXProxy-Redirect requires that you use Google Chrome. If you do not have Google Chrome installed, you should see the Install Chrome and Firefox challenge. There is a similar extension for Firefox. Finding it is left as an exercise for the reader.

Install Google Scholar Button

Sometimes, the proxy server trick fails. Perhaps your library does not subscribe to that journal, or perhaps it gets it through a third party vendor, like EBSCO. When that happens, you can turn to Google Scholar. Google Scholar is Google's search engine for journal articles. If you care about reading articles from journals, it is pretty fantastic. But even if you already know what article you want, Google Scholar is your friend. It knows how to connect to your library's resources to find articles that are available from those third party places.

Google Scholar Button is a Chrome extension that will do a Google Scholar lookup of whatever text you have highlighted. If you do not have any text highlighted, it will let you type (or paste!) a title, and go look for it. When it finds the article, Google Scholar will show you how to get to it, not only through the publisher's site, but also through your library's own search engine. And sometimes, it will provide a link to a copy that someone (sometimes the author, but sometimes illegally) posted online somewhere.

Check it out!

After you installed these two extensions, make sure that you can use these tools to download these articles.

Need a hint to get those articles? Click the blurred text below:

For the first two click on the EXproxy icon after going to the page. For the third and fourth, select (aka highlight) the title, click the Google Scholar Button and use either the “Full-text@USA” button or the “[PDF]” button.

Cool, huh?

No. Really. You need to see that you can download those articles.

If you did not see that you could download those four articles using these extensions, you completely missed the point of this challenge. If you later demonstrate that you do not understand these tools by saying something like “I cannot read the article because it says I have to pay $40” you receive a zero for this assignment.

When to use EZProxy vs when to use Google Scholar

In a perfect world, you could always follow a DOI to the article’s publisher site, click on the EZProxyRedirect button to access the article through your institution’s proxy server and it would just work. And it does work a lot of the time. However, sometimes the librarians decided that it was preferable (usually because it is cheaper) to gain access to that article through a secondary provider like JSTOR or EBSCO. Unless you have memorized your library’s subscriptions, there is basically no way to know which way will work. What I recommend is to first try EZProxyRedirect (it is just one click and you will know in seconds whether it worked) and if it fails, select the article’s title on the web page, click the Google Scholar Button, and then follow the link to find it in your library.

Need an APA Citation?

If you ever need to do a citation, Google Scholar Button is your friend! Select a title, click the Google Scholar Button and you’ll see this:

Click that quote-mark icon (), and you will get the citation (almost) correctly formatted in a variety of formats:

Just copy-and-paste the one you want, and you are good to go! (Note: in Discourse, you will need to add the italics back in.

What to Do

  • Install Google Scholar Button
  • Install EZProxy Redirect and take a screen shot of the options page with your school's proxy server selected that shows the Google Scholar button on Chrome's extensions bar. (If you do not know how to take a screen shot, see the [screen shot challenge]( and mention this in your post.
  • Go to Google Scholar's Settings Page, click on the "Library Links" tab on the right, search for your institution, and turn on the available subscriptions (e.g., Open Worldcat, and Full-Text@USA).
  • Take a screen shot that demonstrates that you have (1) installed Google Scholar Button, (2) installed EZproxy-redirect, and (3) and configured Google Scholar. If EZproxy-redirect says something about Drexel, and you don't attend Drexel, you need to configure it to use your university's proxy server.
  • Post: your screen shot and anything you learned along the way and/or tips for others who attempt this quest. Tag your post with "library-tools"

Things You Might Do Wrong

You should try to attempt this on your own before looking at these hints. You should look at these hints after you think you have completed the challenge and before you post your answer.

Look Here Before You Post Your Solution

Click this after you think you have completed this challenge

Make sure that you:

  1. Right-click on the EZProxy icon and select your school in the dropdown. If you do not, you will be prompted to log in to the University where the Extension's author presumably wanted to use the library.
  2. Go to the Google Scholar settings page and see that your school's library is added to the Library links (otherwise Scholar cannot help you find materials through your library).
  3. Take a screenshot with the Google Scholar settings page showing that your library has been selected.
  4. Make sure that at least one of those screenshots includes the toolbar with the EZproxyRedirect and Google Scholar Button
  5. take a screenshot with the EZProxy Redirect Options settings page

See Also . . .

Another great Chrome extension is Google Dictionary. It’ll give you the definition of a word if you double click it. You can also select some text, right-click, and do a Google search for those words. I use it several times a day.

You might also have a look at [10 Chrome Extensions Every Student Should Install]((, shared on a student’s blog for a few more extensions that you might find useful.

Fun with DOIs

If you are a doctoral student, you might also be interested in this DOI Resolover.

If you have a Mac or Linux, open a terminal window and paste:

curl -LH "Accept: text/x-bibliography; style=apa"

See for more information.

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