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Electronic resources: Troubleshooting

Online information about University Library and Collection's electronic resources.


Limited Access Users

If your library account has has expired, or if your patron type is that of Limited Access User*, you will not be able to access any of our electronic resources. Limited Access User status usually indicates that there is an element of your registration that has been changed or is not yet complete. Upon completion, it can take a few days for any updates to work their way through the various IT systems. 

If you have any queries regarding the progress of your registration we recommend that you contact Student Registry who may be able to advise you further.  

*You are unlikely to be aware that you are a Limited Access User until you have reported an issue accessing online resources.

Common Awards Students

Common Awards students are permitted to use a selection of our e-resources. However, access to permitted resources is via a dedicated Common Awards VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and not via the library pages.

I can't login to electronic resources with my Durham username and password.


Are you able to login to your Durham email account with your username and password?

If you can
- t
his would suggest that the login details you are using are correct. It could be that there is an issue with your library account that is preventing access. Please get in touch and we can look into this for you.

If you can't - you may need to do a Password Reset. If you have any problems resetting your password or have any other questions concerning your Durham username and password, please contact the IT Service Desk.  


I can't access the full text of an ebook / ejournal.


One of the most common problems users encounter is not being able to access the full text of a particular ebook or ejournal. If you have this problem there are a few basic things you can check: 

  1. Are you logged in to the resource as a Durham User?
    If you are not authenticated on the provider's site you will not be able to access any of the subscribed-to content. Please refer to the Accessing our eResources section for further information on how to login to our e-resources especially if you are working off-campus.  
  2. Are Durham users entitled to access this content?
    Often users access a site via a resource that we are entitled to but then search within the site and discover other resources that are of interest. However, we do not necessarily subscribe to every resource on a providers website. All of our subscribed-to content is individually catalogued so a quick search on Discover should help you find out if you are entitled to full text access. 
  3. Is the content you are trying to access within our subscription coverage?
    Current journal subscriptions don't always entitle us to full text articles from all the available years on a providers site. Older archive material often has to be purchased as an additional subscription. When accessing via Discover, date coverage is clearly displayed in the catalogue record for each journal. 
  4. Does the resource require a specific username and password?
    A small number of our resources can only be accessed with a unique username and password. Please check the password lists to see if this is the case.  
  5. Is there currently any known problems with this particular resource?
    Check out our Known e-resource issues section to see if there are any ongoing or maintenance issues with the particular providers website. 


I get an error when following a link to a resource.


1. Try accessing the resource via a different route
If you are accessing via a reading list or via a bookmarked link, for example, try accessing via Discover or the Library Catalogue (OPAC) to see if you encounter the same problem. 

2. Try clearing your cookies and web cache
Clearing your browser's cookies and web cache can resolve some of the technical problems you may encounter when using online resources. Instructions on how to do so can be found in the Clearing Cookies / Web Cache tab.  

3. Try using a different browser
We sometimes find that some resources work better in some browsers than in others. Where there is a known issue, we will document this in the catalogue records in the OPAC. 

We are always happy to help and if there are problems with any of our e-resources we really want to know about them. The Still need help? section explains how to get in touch and outlines some of the information that it is useful for us to know in order to help solve the problem. 

Cookies are small text files that are created when you use your browser to visit a website that uses cookies to keep track of your movements within the site, help you resume where you left off, remember your registered login, theme selection, preferences, and other customization functions. Your cache is your browser's memory of websites you have visited. Cached information can help websites load faster, but it can also prevent you from seeing the most up-to-date version of a webpage; in some cases, it can also cause the webpage to load improperly or fail to load at all. 

Clearing your browser's cookies and web cache can solve some of the technical problems you may encounter when using our online resources.  You can clear your cookies and web cache by following the instructions laid out below. 

Microsoft Edge / Google Chrome / Firefox

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Delete.   This will open a pop-up window from where you can delete your cookies & cache.


  • Click the Safari menu, then Clear History...
  • In the Clear field choose All History
  • Click Clear History

Some possible alternatives to clearing your cookies and webcache are: 

  • Use a different browser.
  • Open a New InPrivate/Incognito Window in your current browser.

If you require further assistance with any of our electronic resources, you can contact us at The e-resources inbox is monitored daily (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm exc. Bank Holidays) by members of the team. 

If possible, please provide the following information: 

  • Whether you are on or off campus.
  • Details of the Browser you are using, e.g. Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari.
  • The exact title/citation of the resource you are trying to access.
  • Your point of access, e.g. Discover, Reading List, Subject Guides, Learn Ultra.
  • The exact steps you are taking when the problem occurs. 
  • The wording of any error message.
  • A screenshot of the error message which shows the URL. 

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