Skip to Main Content

Remote Access to Library Resources

Information on using University Library resources off campus.

Library Authentication Explanation

Note: This information is not necessary to access library resources but just for those interested in having a more in depth understanding of how access and authentication works.

Vendors that provide library resources need a way to authenticate that someone should have access to their website and what resources that user should have access to. And library's want that authentication to be as seamless and easy as possible. For most vendors, the best way to do this is through IP authentication. IP authentication works by having the vendor's website check the user's computer's IP address and if that IP address is one associated with The University of Akron the user will be given access to the resource. If the IP address is not associated with UA, then the user hits a paywall or only has access to free resources.

But what if a University of Akron user tries accessing a resource off campus? That's where EZProxy comes in. This product will check a user's computer's IP address before the vendor's website does and if it identifies that a user doesn't have an UA IP address it will prompt the user to sign into their University of Akron account and then EZProxy will assign a UA IP address to the user's computer. So by the time the vendor website checks the IP address the user's browser window now has the necessary UA IP address. For this to work, the university library's proxy prefix ( needs to be at the beginning of a URL or EZProxy won't be able to do the IP address check. The reason why connecting to UA's VPN also works is because when someone connects to UA's VPN vendor they also get assigned a University of Akron IP address.

Not all vendors provide access through IP authentication. Some have you sign into your University of Akron account no matter if you are on or off campus. And others force users to create a new account just for that resource


  • IP Address - Internet Protocol address, is the address of your computer when connected to a certain computer network. If you are using The University of Akron's Wifi your computer will have a different IP address than if you are using the Wifi at your home.
  • Paywall - When you are asked to pay a subscription or a single charge to be able to access a journal article, book, or other online resource.
  • Proxy - Using a third party, makes it seem like your computer has a different IP address than it actually has to a website. Here's a more complete explanation of a proxy.
  • VPN - Virtual Private Network, sits between the user and a destination website, and causes the website to only see the IP address of the VPN. Here's a more complete explanation of VPN