Troubleshooting Off-Campus Access to E-Resources

Because of licensing agreements, there are limitations on access to online resources.

To access University Libraries subscription resources you must either:

  • Access the internet (and thus the online resource) through the Mason network (e.g., plugged in with a cord on campus)
  • OR
  • 1. Access the resource through the Mason Proxy server
    • You can tell if a link (URL) uses the proxy because you will see "mutex" and "gmu". Always use the proxy URL when linking to online databases. It is fine to also use the proxy url when you are on campus.
    • If the link is not set to go through the proxy server, you can alter it to do so. See instructions at Off-Campus Access
  • AND
  • 2. Be "authenticated" (i.e., login with your username and password)
    • If you are not prompted to login, the most likely reason is that the link you used did not send you to the proxy server (see #1). 
    • If your username/password does not work, check that you have an active Mason email (PatriotWeb) account and are using the correct password by logging into your account at https://mail.gmu.edu

See below for common error messages and what to do.

Error Messages

EZProxy Hostname error

This happens when the database has moved and the address in the proxy has not yet been updated.

Please report this issue to Lara Bushallow (or Wally Grotophorst) in the library systems office. For the quickest fix, please send the name the resource you were trying to access and the "computer hostname" line on the error page.

EZProxy Cookie Error

This happens when your browser will not accept cookies. Cookies are needed to remember that you logged in, and will be deleted when you close your browser.

Please set your broswer to accept cookies, then try logging in again. See How to Enble Cookies in Your Internet Web Browser

Error has occurred in script on this page.

Check another library database such as EBSCOhost. If this does work, your browser does not have Javascript enabled. 

Please enable JavaScript on your browser. See How to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Technical Information

To provide off-campus access to restricted databases, we use a proxy server...specifically, one named EZProxy (pronounced "Easy Proxy"). Validation occurs as we query the campus LDAP directory server. 

The proxy server sends all traffic to your browser on port 80 (the standard web port). This should avoid issues with local firewalls. The secure signon uses port 443, which should not pose a problem since even very restrictive networks generally keep port 443 open for secure traffic. 

The proxy server administrator must specify all the domains (i.e., silverplatter.com) and computer hostnames (i.e., spweb.silverplatter.com) for which the proxy server should be used. Thus, when new databases are added or current databases change URLs, the proxy must also be updated.