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Electronic Resources Troubleshooting: Home

Electronic resources troubleshooting assistance, how to report a problem, FAQ, and a glossary


UAB Libraries Catalog Search

Resource Acquisitions and Discovery is the department in the library responsible for licensing, maintaining and providing access to the library's electronic materials. The department offers millions of electronic resources, including databases, journals, videos, e-books and more, obtained from hundreds of vendors and publishers! We are always updating our holdings so that University of Alabama at Birmingham community members have materials relevant to their interests, curriculum and research. To learn more about the libraries, visit the Libraries Statistics guide for statistics on all aspects of the libraries, such as library services, resources, expenditures and internal personnel.

Initial Troubleshooting Steps

Experiencing an issue? The following are some initial troubleshooting steps that may assist in resolving the error.

Are you an active student, faculty, or staff member at University of Alabama at Birmingham?
  • Most e-resources are for active members of the UAB community, such as currently enrolled students as well as active faculty and staff members. (Databases that are tagged as a "free resource" in the Databases A-Z list are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection).
  • Guests are able to access resources and services by first visiting the front desk at any of the UAB Libraries in-person. Please visit UAB Libraries Hours of Operation homepage for library hours.
Are you starting from the right spot?
  • Always start research directly from the library website at Saved and bookmarked links can expire and cause errors.
  • If you're performing research in a specific database, always access the database with a permanent/static link. These links can be found on the Databases A-Z list on the library website.

Are you using an UAB Libraries authentication method?

  • UAB Blazer ID credentials
  • EZproxy links
  • VPN
  • UAB Blazer ID credentials are used to authenticate currently enrolled students as well as active faculty and staff whether on or off campus.
  • EZproxy links are an authentication method using specialized links that grants off-campus access to e-resources. Most full-text links in the catalog contain an EZproxy (not all resources require proxied links for access).
  • UAB's VPN service is another way of accessing e-resources, but it is not necessary to do so. A VPN is good for connecting to a secured, private network rather than to a public Wi-Fi source. For more information on using UAB's VPN, please visit UAB IT's guide titled "Using Duo 2FA to Login to UAB's New VPN".


Common Issues

Experiencing an issue? The following are some common issues and how to fix them.

Issue & Description  

Browser error: occurs when either data or settings within a browser prevents access to an online resource or website.

  • How does it happen? The browser session may have expired, there may be expired browser session data preventing access, or there is a block due to security settings (firewall).
  • What can I do? Clear cache and cookies then check firewall settings. To check firewall and security settings in a computer using macOS, please visit the macOS User Guide. To check firewall and security settings in a Windows computer, please visit the Microsoft Support guide.
Catalog error: occurs when there is incorrect information regarding an e-resource in the catalog, or the e-resource is appearing in searches due to an error.
  • How does it happen? There are many issues that occur in the catalog, such as incorrect coverage dates for a journal, an incorrect link, or the catalog incorrectly indicates the library has access to a resource.
  • What can I do? If something in the catalog is incorrect or needs to be updated, report the problem.

Linking error: occurs when the link for a resource is broken, outdated, or doesn't include the proxy.

  • Includes EZproxy linking
  • How does it happen? There are a few reasons. A linking error can occur when links are saved as bookmarks. Sometimes an e-resource will have an incorrect or outdated link. Some resources require EZproxy for full text access - if the link isn't proxied when it's supposed to, users will not be able to access full text.
  • What can I do? Clear cache and cookies, and reattempt access in a fresh browser. Test in multiple browsers. If the issue persists, report the problem.
Paywall: occurs when a payment wall prevents access (a resource asks for payment to access it).
  • How does it happen? Paywalls occur when users have not been authenticated properly, if the library hasn't renewed access to the resource, or the resource is appearing in the catalog out of error.
  • What can I do? If the catalog indicates we should have access to the resource but a paywall is blocking access, report the problem.
Personal vendor account error: occurs while attempting to log into a personal vendor account or during an instance of using one.
  • How does it happen? This error may occur due to an internal security issue on the vendor's site or some error with the patron's login credentials.
  • What can I do? Please report the problem if basic troubleshooting steps like clearing cache and cookies doesn't work.
Server error: occurs when a user is not able to access a website due to a server connection issue.
  • How does it happen? A server error could be due to a security block of users when there's higher than normal traffic, or there is a server connection issue on the site owner's side.
  • What can I do? If clearing cache and cookies doesn't work, please report the problem.
UAB Blazer ID authentication error: occurs after users attempt to authenticate themselves using a UAB Blazer ID and password.
  • How does it happen? This error may result from a library hold on a patron account, a patron is not a currently enrolled student or active faculty or staff member, or there is an internal security issue.
  • What can I do? Clear your cache and cookies then reattempt access using a fresh browser. Test access in multiple browsers. Also check to make sure there are no holds on your student and library account. If the issue persists, contact UAB One Card at for assistance.
VPN error: occurs when connection through the VPN has been lost or cannot be connected to.
  • How does it happen? VPN connection issues can occur when a VPN server is overloaded with higher than normal traffic, when the VPN software is outdated, or the connection has been lost.
  • What can I do? UAB Campus VPN is NOT needed to access library resources, and in some cases, it prevents access. If you are experiencing access issues and using the VPN, please disable the VPN, clear your cache, and try the link again. Report the problem is the issue persists.


Electronic Resources Librarian

Maintenance Alerts

Last updated: 10/13/2022

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