UBC Library eResources: Service Bulletins

Guest Stations in Branches: Databases “…don’t look right”*UPDATE*

Posted on February 17, 2009 @10:21 am by irobb

Turns out some adjustments are possible. Health Reference Center and the Alexander Street Press sites should be displaying correctly on the Guest Machines now.

A patron on a “Guest” work station in a branch complains that something is wrong with the Gale database they are looking at. You look and see boxes and red “X”s where images should be. And where’s the “Send” button to email an article? But everything seems OK on a log-in machine. What’s going on? Guest stations are only allowed limited access to resources and the internet. Some Gale databases are self-contained, and display fine. Others (Health Reference Center, British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries, Canadian Periodical Index, etc.) have links to images and other elements of their display. These links are blocked on Guest machines. Patrons wishing to have full access to resources as well as all the components of a resource to which UBC subscribes, must work from a log-in machine.

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DocDels & InterLibray Loans: *UPDATE*

Posted on February 9, 2009 @10:54 am by irobb

They’re back!

According to David Winter:
“Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan ordering is not available at the moment due to a server problem in Ottawa. We are waiting to hear from Ottawa as to how long we will be down.”

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EZproxy Changes: New Server/New Login Screen

Posted on February 6, 2009 @12:59 pm by irobb

As you have probably noticed, EZproxy has had a shake up. You may have become aware of the changes after you hit a “Click Here” for passwords or authentication and received an error message. Or a database became temporarily unavailable. Or you were surprised (and frustrated) by the new green & gold “EZproxy Login” page.


The EZproxy had to be moved to a new server. Some of the background for the reasons behind the move can be found in Rue’s RSVPN email [or see post below]. We had hoped the changes would be mostly behind the scenes (other than the new login page), obviously there were some angles we didn’t take into account. We are patching things as we go. Please email us with any problems you encounter.

Changes you will notice with the new EZproxy server? Obviously the login page. Barcode and PIN as before, but with room for CWL to be added later. Room, also, for more information, unlike the previous pop-up window. For those who set up password or authentication “Click Here”s, a new URL [contact eResources for details]. Some personal bookmarks may need to be changed. Also, see this *IMPORTANT* note about Barcode/PIN authentication:

“The patron barcode/PIN information in the authentication server is now being updated every 30 minutes. Once a patron’s PIN has been modified, it will be available to EZproxy within 30 minutes. To avoid confusion, please ensure that your patrons are informed of this delay after you have changed their PINs.” — Joerg Messer (Programmer/Analyst, Systems)

So, for at most 30 minutes after a patron changes their PIN it may work for their account, but not for the EZproxy. Other than that, patrons should find resources as accessible as before. Again, ANY eResource problems that pop up, please email us at

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RSVPN: *The Official Word*

Posted on February 6, 2009 @12:06 pm by irobb

We have been fielding many RSVPN (one of two off-campus, CWL-authenticated connections to the Library’s eResources) emails at lib-ejhelp. You’ve been frustrated by RSVPN’s unstable performance (or non-performance). So have we. Here is the official word on the RSVPN state of affairs. Hope this helps to clarify things. And please, do continue to email us at with WHATEVER eResource problems you encounter.

[The following is taken from the lib-all email Rue sent on 06Feb2009]

Over the past two months or so, we’ve been experiencing a series of acute and transient yet persistent problems with the RSVPN service, one of several remote access methods to our electronic resources. Because this affects our users, I wanted to provide you with some background on where we are with remote access to our online resources.

Methods of access to library electronic resources:
*Direct access via IP – service provided in conjunction with campus networking, UBC ITS
*Remote access via VPN (requires CWL) – service provided in conjunction with campus networking, UBC ITS
*Remote access via RSVPN (requires CWL) – service provided in conjunction with campus networking, UBC ITS
*Remote access via library proxy server (requires library barcode/pin and browser configuration) – service provided by Library IT

In most cases, access to our resources is controlled by IP address, the network address of the computer you’re using. For UBC networked computers, we utilize a range of known addresses that we share with our vendors to facilitate access and access is easy and fast for on-campus users. For remote users, or persons who are not on the UBC network, a number of possible access points have been developed, all of which have issues of their own. In the case of the health facilities, we have two specific problems – many users are on health authority networks which are separately maintained and configured and many users do not have the ability to obtain a UBC campus wide login account (CWL). Using the library’s proxy isn’t always a solution because many users work on locked down computers and can’t make the necessary configuration changes.

As the list above implies, the Library is part of the connection path that includes the campus network, campus ID management, and campus IT support. In the case of RSVPN, we have been relying on UBC ITS for the back-end hardware to support the service. Unfortunately, they’ve had a series of issues on their end, including dealing with hardware replacements, at a time that they are undergoing a top to bottom review and reorganization of services and priorities.

The good news is that they are making progress on several fronts, including moving ahead with updating the RSVPN service. The bad news is that such a large project will take months to complete. Their target date for full implementation is late summer. However, the Library will be an early adopter and tester and we’re hopeful to see improvements as soon as possible. UBC ITS also is making headway on improved identity management, which will provide users with easier and more secure authentication methods. The Library is also working with UBC ITS and the health authority IT departments to define a problem notification and escalation process for RSVPN.

Additionally, the library is moving to consolidate its proxy services under EZproxy, which will provide easier use (no browser configuration changes needed) and additional support options in that area. We are also in the final stages of hiring a new Systems Librarian with the working title of E-Access Librarian, who will be tasked with coordinating all aspects of electronic access to our resources, including remote access. One of the first jobs for this new hire will be to work with our various access methods and improve the service and information provided to our users.

We don’t like to see any of our users having access problems to our resources and we take any problems very seriously. Remember to report any access problems that might be subscription or resource related to and any problems that might be technical or network related to the Library Help Desk, It’s sometimes hard to diagnose a problem, so don’t worry too much about where to send the problem. The two desks do coordinate on problem solving.


Renulfo (Rue) Ramirez

Associate University Librarian, Library Systems & Information Technology / Technical Services
University of British Columbia

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Journal Info: *New Tool*

Posted on February 6, 2009 @11:28 am by irobb

Ever wonder what a journal’s FRIDA level might be? What its ISI impact factor is? If there are “Open Access” alternatives to your favourite journals? Wonder no more! Journal Info reveals all this and more. Type in a journal title or Browse by Subject. Check it out.
“This service is provided by Lund University Libraries, Head Office with support from the National Library of Sweden”– says the site.

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ebrary Reader: Avoid RSVPN

Posted on February 6, 2009 @11:11 am by irobb

Hope everyone has had a look at the ebrary ebooks and the new reader. For those connecting from off campus, RSVPN [see larger post above] is not an option at the moment. Both the QuickView and the ebrary Reader display a gray wall rather than text. Please use VPN (see the Connect from Home page).

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OvidSP: Access *UPDATE*

Posted on January 27, 2009 @3:58 pm by irobb

Ovid is now connecting from all machines that it should connect from now. Some hospital branches had problems as well, but word has come in that they are OK now [except for RSVPN issues, see above]. Direct as many positive thoughts as possible towards Ovid’s Texas server.

Certain staff work stations at Woodward cannot access OvidSp databases. We are investigating. Ovid is investigating. There does not seem to be a work-around at the moment. Sorry for the inconvenience. Stay tuned.

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ebrary Interface: *Final UPDATE*

Posted on January 15, 2009 @1:51 pm by irobb

The new ebrary Reader is now working in all our ebrary sites. Please visit: Canadian Publisher’s Collection, Canadian Public Policy or Canadian Health Research Collection from the Online Indexes & Databases page. And coming soon eDuke! (Duke University Press ebooks). Take a preview at eDuke. Enjoy.

ebrary has a new interface… but all our links are down. Do NOT try Canadian Publisher’s Collection, Canadian Public Policy nor Canadian Health Research Collection (nor any ebook in the catalogue that links to ebrary -sigh-) until we have this sorted. Sorry for the inconvenience.

ebrary is upgrading us to their new and improved (and it REALLY is) user interface. When the upgrade is complete, you really should take ebrary for a spin.

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SFX Interuption: January 4th. Very Brief *UPDATE*

Posted on January 14, 2009 @1:32 pm by irobb

SFX is back. All looks OK.

SFX (the eLink button, etc.) will be out for a brief moment tonight around 10:00… no more than 45 minutes or so, we’re told. This is not related to the other outage below.

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eResources Interuptions: January 14th. *UPDATE*

Posted on January 14, 2009 @12:45 pm by irobb

We’re back. All looks OK.

From 6 – 7 pm tonight, certain UBC eResource websites will not be available due to server maintenance. Any URL with in it may go down. This includes the ejournal A-Z list and our database information pages. The eLink button should not be effected, linking directly from the OPAC (ex. MyiLibrary books) should be ok… in fact, most things should be accessible. Please email us at ej-help if you run into any problems.

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