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CONNECTIONS: The VDOT Library E-Newsletter

Access Problems For Library Subscription Databases (We Have Workarounds!)

by Ken Winter on 2021-09-08T15:34:03-04:00 in VDOT Library | 0 Comments

Note: Network issues are only affecting access to subscription databases.


In late July library staff noticed irregularities accessing library subscription databases (not publicly accessible resources like TRID or Google Books). Sometimes we could connect to subscriptions like Knovel or ASCE, sometimes we couldn't, but why?  The answer includes some good news and some bad news. 


The Bad News: We have worked with VITA to fix the these connection issues, but the fix is not sticking. What we notice when working from VDOT devices on the VDOT network, is that sometimes instead of going right into a subscription, we would instead see a prompt to enter our Virtual Library Card (VLC) credentials.  

If this sounds off, it is! 
Image of the Virtual Library Card


Fact is, we implemented the VLC to only appear for VDOT patrons who are not on the VDOT network. 


Since 2016 we've never seen this prompt from the VDOT network, so this is a new one for us too. Instead, we have been automatically recognized and granted access to the subscription we selected. While our IT friends have fixed the issue multiple times in recent weeks, it has reverted the following business day, which has been inconvenient.  However, library patrons could still access resources with their VLC user name and password. Unfortunately, our friends in IT have discovered a "network routing issue" affecting multiple state agencies and things have gone from bad to worse.


Screen capture of restricted screen.
Last week IT folks from VDOT, VITA, Verizon and McAfee were trying to understand the cause of the problem and as of yesterday we were told it is still not working as it should.  The upshot is that as of today, when VDOT patrons access subscriptions from the VDOT network they will be prompted to enter their VLC credentials. When they enter those credentials accurately, they will then be shown McAfee's "Access to this site is restricted" message, which looks something like this and which is in error.

This equates to a frustrating barrier to access for VDOT employees to library subscriptions. 

The Good News: While this network routing problem has been persistent, it is a temporary issue.  In the meantime, all library databases will continue to be accessible through the VLC, notably from "remote devices" (namely things like your home PC, your smartphone, ipad, etc.).  Databases will also be accessible from your VDOT-issued device as long as you are off VPN or Prisma when you try to get in.


Here are some options for accessing VDOT subscription databases until the the network routing issue is fixed, in what we generally believe to be the easiest and most convenient order: 

Use Your Personal Computer & Your Home Network
1. Use your personal PC (or any connected device) from a home network and any modern browser to go to VDOT subscriptions from our A-Z database list.
2. You should be prompted to login with your library card. If you put your credentials in correctly you should get in. 
3. Any other library subscription you visit in the browser session from that device for the next 8 hours you should automatically get in without having to re-enter your library card credentials.


Use Your VDOT Computer From Your Home Network (off VPN or Prisma)
1. If you are using your VDOT-issued laptop from home, you'll start by being sure you are not on VPN or Prisma. 
2. We recommend using Microsoft Edge to go to VDOT subscriptions from our A-Z database list.
3. When you click on a subscription you should be prompted to login with your library card. 
4. Any other subscription you visit in this browser session for the next 8 hours you should automatically get in without having to enter your VLC credentials, unless you go back on VPN. 

Note: If you are on VPN , simply disconnect VPN, then follow the steps above to access library subscriptions. When you are done accessing subscriptions and gathering documents you can turn VPN back on to resume network activities. 


What To Do When You Are "At the Office"
1. If you are physically at your VDOT office (either plugged in to the VDOT network or connected to VDOT's network wirelessly) you are on the VDOT network de facto. So you probably will not be able to access any subscriptions until all the aforementioned IT issues are resolved. 
2. Because we don't know when the network will behave normally, it may be wise to check back in on our subscription databases from time to time, however, we realize this is not a great use of your time.

Note: You can still use 
any smartphone to access library subscriptions with your VLC. While a phone has a very small screen, this method should work and you can do things like download/email articles to yourself for use later. 


We sincerely apologize for the ongoing access issues. We know you rely on self-service access to premium articles, standards, ebooks and much more to do your jobs at VDOT.


At any time we invite you to contact the library if you know what document you need and simply want us to find and deliver it to you (we've been doing this lots the past 8 weeks!).  


You can also contact me personally at any time and I'll give you the latest updates on our progress in resolving these access issues.


Ken Winter
(434) 962-8979
VDOT Research Library

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