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Library Resources in the time of COVID-19: Electronic Resources Access Issues: VPN, Shibboleth

This guide will be updated on a regular basis.

Remote access to electronic resources

Rest assured we are here to support you during these changes that have come as a result of the switch to remote working and online learning. We are working to make access to electronic library resources as seamless as possible. See below three ways in which you can access library resources while working or learning from home. Any changes to these modes of access will be posted here.

Use this form to report problems logging into or accessing University Libraries online resources

We will make every effort to respond to you within 24 hours. 


The Office of Information Technology has expanded the hardware, software, and network addresses related to the campus VPN in order to accommodate heavy traffic from those who are now working remotely. As a result of this expansion, users can now log into the VPN and access library resources directly or through the Databases page or Scout. 

The new VPN address for The University of Alabama is For more information on the VPN, visit OIT's VPN page.

Two alternative ways of accessing library resources are Shibboleth and regular Off-Campus access. Please see the boxes on this page for more information. 

If you have difficulty accessing content, please do not hesitate to contact us


Shibboleth via InCommon

Many of our resources are configured to authenticate using Shibboleth in addition to other methods. However, using this method means that the you will be authenticated within that particular resource only. That login does not carry over to other resources. This option is available for many of our most popular resources and may be a good, alternative solution to gain access. 

For the e-resources that are Shibboleth enabled, users need only to navigate to the website of the resource (e.g. The American Chemical Society website), select “Institutional Login” or “Login via your Institution” and select University of Alabama as their home institution. Users are then directed to myBama to authenticate.

The following resources are Shibboleth enabled and will work for both VPN and non-VPN users:

  • ACS (American Chemical Society)
  • Wiley
  • Science | AAAS
  • IEEE
  • Sage
  • Elsevier (ScienceDirect)
  • Springer
  • Cambridge Journals
  • Oxford University Press
  • Taylor & Francis
  • Emerald
  • EBSCO (Scout and EBSCOhost databases)
  • RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry)
  • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)
  • IOP (Institute of Physics)
  • University of Chicago Press Journals

Please be advised that Shibboleth has limitations and will only work within the single resource for which Shibboleth is applied. If you choose to login via Shibboleth for SCOUT, your permissions will likely be limited to viewing record-level information but not for full-text link-outs or Full Text Finder. Therefore, additional authentication might be required at the point of full-text access.

Also, please note that, if prompted, you may have to select a region before proceeding to selecting your institution when signing in via Shibboleth. The appropriate region to select is “US-InCommon.” It could also be listed as simply “InCommon.” 


Off-campus authentication without using the campus VPN remains unchanged. Users navigate to Scout or the Databases list from the library website as normal, and login using myBama credentials when prompted.