Resolving e-resources issues without loosing sleep …

  • Why am I not able to access and download this e-journal article?
  • I clicked on this link and all I got is a broken link?
  • Help!!! My IP address has been blocked … What do I do?
  • I’m traveling and I need access to this e-resource. How can I do it?Wire Googles Photo: Keyboard

These are just some of the questions that I get on e-resources issues.  Some are pretty straightforward but others require more time to resolve plus the involvement of various parties: publishers, vendors, and librarians.

Electronic resource management is a very fluid and dynamic area which involves peopleware, hardware, and software.  It is not just the flicker of the switch, turning the access on and the ‘story’ ends there.  More than often, maintenance and troubleshooting the e-resources issues comes into prominence.

What do you need to resolve these issues?

  • Good understanding of your ILS, discovery systems, AZ systems, link resolvers among others
  • Communication Skills – You’re gonna need it to understand the root causes, explaining this to the users/vendors/publishers/library community.  Following up and following thru; ensuring that all issues are tracked and there’s closure for all of them
  • Good system to track and monitor these issues (for example a ticketing system.  In our library, we used LibAnswers).

What are the main causes of electronic resources problems:

  • Broken Links to electronic journals, e-books / e-book chapters, e-resources websites
  • Excessive downloading
  • Wrongly-configured IP ranges / addresses
  • Off-campus access which usually involves proxy issues
  • Link resolvers
  • Subscription access: Publisher didn’t activate access to the correct subscription period
  • Change of publisher’s URL
  • Site maintenance
  • Internet Browser incompatibility
  • Link Resolvers not set up for Google Scholar

How do I and my team address them?

  • E-Resources triage:
    • Get the affected URL
    • Get the screen capture
    • Identify where the source of error / problem
    • Obtain information on:
      • IP address
      • Access location
      • Internet Browser
      • Internet Browser version
      • Operating System
  • Once the root cause(s) has been identified, our library staff will take the necessary follow-up action such as:
    • Amending data/information in Discovery layer, AZ system
    • Contacting the publisher(s) / vendor(s)
    • Contacting Uni IT

The story does not end there.  With the constant change in info technology field, (which inadvertently has an effect on electronic resources management), our ERM team need to be on our toes to keep abreast of such changes / advancements in order to resolve more challenging issues.


Smith, K. (2016). Managing Electronic Resource Workflows Using Ticketing System Software. Serials Review, 42(1), 59-64. doi:10.1080/00987913.2015.1137674

Goldfinger, R. K., & Hemhauser, M. (2016). Looking for Trouble (Tickets): A Content Analysis of University of Maryland, College Park E-Resource Access Problem Reports. Serials Review, 00-00. doi:10.1080/00987913.2016.1179706

Samples, J., & Healy, C. (2015). Making it Look Easy: Maintaining the magic of access. Serials Review.





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