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Using Science and Engineering Resources from Off-Campus

Below are frequently asked questions about using electronic journals, books, and databases from off-campus locations. Please click on the topic in which you are interested to be taken to the appropriate part of the page. For additional assistance with chemistry resources, particularly the Cambridge Structural Database, please contact Judith Currano, Head, Chemistry Library, at (215) 746-5886 or currano@pobox.upenn.edu. For additional assistance with any other electronic resource, please contact your Subject Librarian.

Electronic Journals and Books
Electronic Databases

Using E-Journals and E-Books from Off-Campus

Q: Can I read e-journals and e-books from an off-campus computer?

A: Yes, you can. Our e-journals and e-books are only available to current members of the Penn community. In order to read the materials, you need to authenticate yourself using the Penn Library Proxy Service.

Q: How do I authenticate myself to use the journals and books?

A: Go to any library home page and type the name of the journal or book into the FindIt! text box at the top of the screen. Alternatively, you can select the link to E-journals or E-resources, and either browse the alphabet or search to locate the title that you wish to read. Clicking the link to that title will bring up a proxy authentication page. Authenticate, using your PennKey username and password. You can also authenticate for many of the journals and books after clicking direct links within their Franklin records or by navigating directly to the home page of the resource and using the UPenn Proxy Bookmarklet in your favorite browser.

Q: Can I read journal articles and e-books on my mobile device?

A: Yes! We have a UPenn Proxy Bookmarklet, which you can install on your mobile device. Some configuration is required; please visit http://guides.library.upenn.edu/content.php?pid=345491&sid=2826282 for instructions on setting up the bookmarklet. Once it is installed, you can simply click it to authenticate and use your favorite journals and books.

Q: Do I need to authenticate for each journal or book that I want to read during the same session?

A: No! As long as you do not close your browser or change browsers or there is no interruption in your Internet session, your authentication will remain good throughout your session. You do not need to enter your username and password each time you switch resources, and if you have already used a database or another e-journal or e-book, you will not be prompted to log in. If you'd like, you can click here to authenticate now and begin reading journals and books!

Q: Can I bookmark frequently used resources and return to them using my bookmarks?

A: Yes you can, if you follow these steps.
  1. Type the title of the resource in the FindIt! text box at the top of any library Web page.
  2. Either right-click the resource title and "Copy link location," or click the small i to the right of the resource's title, which will invoke a detailed description of the resource, along with a persistent URL
  3. Copy the persistent URL and paste it into your bookmark. This URL is proxied and will allow you to authenticate to use the resource if you are off-campus.

Q: I did a Google Scholar search for articles, but, when I try to read them, the journals are asking me for a user name and password. How do I read them?

A: If you are accessing an article through Google Scholar and you are off campus, the journal does not know that you are a Penn affiliate because you do not have a Penn IP address. You can configure Google Scholar to give you PennText links, which will proxy authenticate you to use the journals, in one or two ways.
  1. Access Google Scholar through the library site.
    • Type "Google Scholar" in the FindIt! text box at the top of any library Web page.
    • Click the link with the resource's title. This will take you to a pre-configured version of Google Scholar that has PennText links

  2. Configure Google Scholar manually.
    • Enter Google Scholar, and click the small link to "Scholar Preferences," to the right of the search box.
    • Under the section labeled, "Library Links," search for "University of Pennsylvania," and click, "Find Library."
    • Check the box beside, "University of Pennsylvania - PennText.
PennText links will now appear beside your Google Scholar results.

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Using Electronic Databases and Search Engines from Off-Campus

Q: Can I use electronic databases from an off-campus computer?

A: Yes, you can. Our electronic databases are only available to current members of the Penn community. In order to read the materials, you need to authenticate yourself using the Penn Library Proxy Service. The one exception is the Cambridge Structural Database client, which cannot be used from an off-campus location. If you are off campus and wish to use CSD, you must use the Web version.

Q: How do I authenticate myself to use the databases?

A: You will need to go in through a library home page, such as the Chemistry Library Home page, at http://www.library.upenn.edu/scitech/chemistry. Select the link to Databases, and use the search interface to locate the resource that you wish to use. Clicking the link to that title will bring up a proxy authentication page. Authenticate, using your PennKey username and password.

Q: Do I need to authenticate for each database that I want to use during the same session?

A: No! As long as you do not close your browser or change browsers, your authentication will remain good throughout your session. You do not need to enter your username and password each time you switch resources. If you have already authenticated to use an electronic book or journal, you do not need to authenticate again to use a database. If you'd like, you can click here to authenticate now and begin searching!

Q: Can I bookmark frequently used resources and return to them using my bookmarks?

A: Yes you can, if you follow these steps.
  1. Type the title of the resource in the FindIt! text box at the top of any library Web page.
  2. Either right-click the resource title and "Copy link location," or click the small i to the right of the resource's title, which will invoke a detailed description of the resource, along with a persistent URL
  3. Copy the persistent URL and paste it into your bookmark. This URL is proxied and will allow you to authenticate to use the resource if you are off-campus.

Q: Can I link from a database to the full text of journal articles from off-campus?

A: We try to enable you to link directly to the full text of journal articles whenever possible. Most of the databases, such as Inspec, COMPENDEX, MEDLINE, ISI, and SciFinder have links to the full text of articles if Penn subscribes to the journal in which they appear. These should allow you to link directly into the article of choice. In addition, some databases actually load the text of the articles and present it as part of the record.

Most databases and journals are linked via a service called PennText, or SFX. Look for the PennText link in the database of your choice. Clicking this link will take you to a menu screen, which allows you to link to an electronic version of the article, search Franklin for the journal in which it appears, or, if we do not own the journal, fill out an Interlibrary Loan request form for the article.

If the database you selected does not show a link to PennText or to the full text of the journal article, we may still have access to that article. Search for the journal using FindIt!, the E-Journal search tool, or Franklin, and link to the full text through one of these tools. If you experience any difficulties in linking to an article, either through a database or Franklin, please contact your subject librarian.


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