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Library Research: Troubleshooting Tips

Guides to getting started at University Libraries. Search tips, citation resources, and more.

Browser Refresh

Hard Refresh

In most browsers on PC and Mac, you can perform a simple action to force a hard refresh. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the reload icon on your browser’s toolbar.browser refresh icon

Keyboard Commands

  1. Chrome, Firefox, or Edge for Windows: Press Ctrl+F5 (If that doesn't work, try Shift+F5 or Ctrl+Shift+R).
  2. Chrome or Firefox for Mac: Press Shift+Command+R.
  3. Safari for Mac: There is no simple keyboard shortcut to force a hard refresh.

Try a different browser

image of differing browser icons

It's always a good idea to have more than one browser on your computer, because different resources work differently in different browsers, and login errors can get saved in your cache even if they are just temporary. Many login errors are resolved by trying a different browser. If you can't use a different browser, try clearing your cache and search history. Please note Internet Explorer has been retired by Microsoft and is not recommended for use.

Check user limits

Some databases require you to set up a special account to use the database or certain features. Others are limited to just a few or only one user at a time. Some of these resources include: ARTstor, Intelliconnect (CCH), SciFinder, and Naxos, among others. Use the All Databases list to check for special access notes about the resource you are trying to use.

image Naxos 20 users at a time limit message in Library Database A-Z listing

Likewise, some of our ebooks are limited to just a few or only one user at a time. You will find notes about this in the catalog, next to the url for each book.

image Ebsco Ebook single user at a time limit message in library catalog

Make sure you're using a proxied link

If you are off campus, you need to be using a proxied link. If you saved a link when you were on campus and then tried to access it from off campus, the link you saved might be unproxied. You can tell by looking at the url in the browser bar.

A link that does not have ezproxy in it is not a proxied link and will not work from off campus.

If a link isn't proxied, it is easy to proxy the link yourself. Just add at the beginning and leave the rest of the url the same.



Why might a link be unproxied? If you are using Google or are otherwise not starting from the library's home page, links to resources will not be proxied. If you emailed yourself a link to an article from on campus, the link in the email may not be proxied. Just proxy it yourself as described above for full text access!

Check your login

If you are off campus, you should be prompted to log in to EZProxy before you can access an article or ebook. Make sure you are entering your username and password correctly.


What happens on the EZProxy Login Screen when you enter your login incorrectly

If you try to log in with a valid username but the wrong password 20 times within 5 minutes, the system will block you from logging in for 10 minutes.

If you try to log in with invalid information 20 times within 5 minutes, the system will block your IP for 10 minutes.

If you get an error message:

  • make sure your username and password are working by trying to log in to MyBGSU. If not, you can change your password there or contact Campus ITS for more assistance.
  • If you are unable to request materials make sure there is not a problem with your library account. Log in to MyBGSU and go to "Students" --> "Libraries," then scroll down to "Library Account At A Glance" and check your account expiration date. If your account has expired, then you need to contact BGSU Registration and Records to check on your university status.

image of Library Account


Make sure you're using a persistent link

Sometimes the link to a resource you are trying to use is a session url and not a persistent url. 

This most often happens with EBSCO, because the url in the browser bar is not a url you can save in order to return to an item later. Instead, you have to find the special "permalink" for the EBSCO webpage or resource. 

Do not copy the browser url.  Click on Share button

From Share button choose copy the Use Permalink url

If you are trying to go to a session url in EBSCO, you will probably just be sent to a generic page that lists various EBSCO databases.  It will not link you to the article record or search list within an EBSCO database.

EBSCO error screen

If you cannot connect to a resource because you do not have a persistent link, usually the only thing you can do is try to find the item again in the database through a keyword search. 

When using databases, look for the "permalink" or "persistent link" label to make sure you can get to something later.

Use the alternate access link

If you cannot log in to EZProxy, try to find and use the alternate access link. Here are alternate access links for Summon & EBSCO:


To find the Alternate Access Link for other databases, go to the All Databases list (on our homepage under the search box).

Image of University Libraries home page,, Summon Search box, All Databases text at bottom

Find the database you want in the list and click the "more" link underneath the description to show the Alternate Access Link. 

The "more" link will display beneath the description of a database and will lead you to the alternate access link.

Sometimes, a link on our website may take you to the description of a database.

If you are able to log in using an alternate access link but are unable to log in to EZProxy, a firewall in your network may be blocking EZProxy. This most frequently happens in:

  • K-12 schools
  • government buildings and offices
  • hospitals

Please contact us at eresources (at) for more assistance.