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About the GDL

Off-Campus Access to Library Resources

To access any of the library databases from off-campus, follow these steps:

  1. Click on a link to a database from any library web page
    Use the library's Web pages just as you would if you were in the library. All of the links to databases within the library's Web site are designed to be used off-campus.
  2. If you are off-campus you will be prompted for your campus network login name and password
    This is the same login and password you use to access the campus network.
  3. The next thing you see should be the opening screen of the database you are trying to connect to
    If all is successful, you should see the database you were trying to connect to. If not, see below.


If you are unable to access a database from off-campus, contact The following information can help in correcting the problem. Remember: you must be a current faculty/staff member or student with a valid campus network account to be able to use this service.

  • The name of the database
  • What message is displayed
  • Do you get a message that the proxy server can't be found
  • Do you get to a database page that asks for a password
  • What browser you're using

How Does It Work?

The library uses a proxy server (a computer running a special piece of software) to make your off-campus use of a database "look" as if you are actually on the Centre campus. Whether you are on-campus or off, when you click on a link to a database from a library web page, the proxy server will first check to see if you are on our campus. This is determined by the IP address of the computer you are using. "Our campus" in this context means all campus offices, classrooms, residence halls, computer labs, and the library. If the proxy server sees you as a part of the campus it grants access to the database. All this goes on behind the scenes and is invisible. If you are not on campus (again determined by a computer's IP address), the proxy server will then ask for a login and password. The proxy server checks to see if you are a valid user (i.e. current student, faculty, or staff), and if so, initiates a "URL redirection session" in which all your transactions go through one of Centre's Web servers. This makes it look to the database vendor as if you are on campus. If the login and password are not valid, the proxy server will deny access to the database.

Why Do We Need This?

The Centre College library does not actually own the databases available though the library's web pages. They are licensed to the library for use on a yearly basis. The license agreements state that they will only be made available to the college's faculty and currently registered students. The library achieves this by giving each database vendor a list of all the campus network addresses, also called IP addresses. The database vendors allow access based on the validation of these addresses. Vendors will seldom use passwords to access their databases, as these can be passed along to numerous non-valid users.