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I'm unable to access the library databases. How do I fix this?

Read below for common problems and solutions.

Need Help?

Ask a Librarian @
Betty Sue Jessup Library

501 College Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434.961.5309
reference@pvcc.edu

Problem #1: You are not taking classes at PVCC this semester.  

Enroll iconOnly currently-enrolled students at PVCC can access our databases from off-campus.  There is a lag time of several months before your access is cut off.  So, if you haven't been enrolled for a couple of months, used to be able to get in, and now you can't, that's why.  It took some time before the VCCS cut off your account.  

If you are enrolled at another VCCS college for a semester, you might be able to access some of our databases but not all.  All community colleges share access to a variety of databases, but some are purchased by PVCC for our students only.  Please visit your current college's library for a complete list of the databases they have access to.  Use their website until you re-enroll at PVCC.

Problem #2: You are trying to access our databases outside of the library's website (such as from Canvas or Google).

Google iconIf you google the name of a database and try to access it from there, it won't work when off-campus.  Please use the library's website and Database List to access the databases when off-campus.

If a link in Canvas isn't working, it's possible your professor didn't link to it correctly.  See problem #3 below.  Please contact your professor first, and he or she will tell you what to do from there.

Problem #3: You saved a link to an article, ebook, or video in one of our databases, and now it's not working.

Broken link iconIf you copy the link to an article from your browser, it may break.  Most databases provide options to email the article to yourself or a "permalink" button that provides you with a link that won't break.  Sometimes a database doesn't provide either option, in which case you must create the permalink yourself.  Details and instructions on how to do this are found in our Linking to Library Resources playbook.

Contact the library for help with this.  We can explain the best way to create permalinks for different databases.  Email us at reference@pvcc.edu or call us at 434-961-5309.  We can also help track down a source for a broken link, if you don't remember where you got it.

Problem #4: You click a link to article or ebook, and the database prompts you to pay for it.

Money iconMake sure you are accessing the database through our library's website or Database List when off-campus.  Look for "ezpvcc.vccs.edu" or "ezproxy.vccs.edu" in the URL.  If that is not there, then you need to go back to the library's website, click the link to the database, and search again. 

If "ezpvcc.vccs.edu" or "ezproxy.vccs.edu" is in the URL, then it's possible we don't have access to that article or ebook.  If you need it for an assignment, submit an Interlibrary Loan Request.  We will get it from another library for you.  You never have to pay for anything connected to your research at PVCC.  

Problem #5: You click a database link from the library's website and successfully login, but you never reach the database. The screen stays white or gives you an error message.

Error iconA couple of different things could be going on here.

Option #1: The system is down.  To test this, try accessing it from your phone on your data plan.  Cut off the wifi.  Can you get in?  If not, report the problem and email reference@pvcc.edu or call us at 434-961-5309.  If you get a specific error message, please include a screenshot or copy the message into the email.

Option #2: If you were able to get to the database on your phone, the issue is with your wifi network or your laptop.  See problem #7 for tips on troubleshooting.

Problem #6: You click a database link from the library's website and never reach the login screen.  You've always been able to access the databases before from this location and/or device and never had this happen.

Error iconAre you currently enrolled in classes at PVCC?  If not, see problem #1.  Otherwise, a couple of things could be going on:

Option #1: The system is down.  To test this, try accessing it from your phone on your data plan.  Cut off the wifi.  Can you get in?  If not, report the problem and email reference@pvcc.edu or call us at 434-961-5309. 

Option #2: If you were able to get to it on your phone, then something changed with your wifi network or your laptop.  See problem #7 for tips on troubleshooting.

Problem #7: You click a database link from the library's website and never reach the login screen.  This is your first time accessing the database from this location and/or device.

Glaring at computerAre you currently enrolled in classes at PVCC?  If not, see problem #1.

Otherwise, there could be several issues going on here:

  1. The system is down.  To test this, try accessing it from your phone on your data plan.  Cut off the wifi.  Can you get in?  If not, report the problem to the library by emailing reference@pvcc.edu or calling 434-961-5309.
     
  2. If it worked on your phone with your data plan, then the problem is either your laptop OR your wifi.  To figure out which one, try accessing it from your phone on your wifi.  Can you get in?  If not, the problem is your wifi network.  If it works on your phone via wifi, then it's your laptop. 
     
    1. Common wifi problem - Our library's databases use a proxy server to provide access to our databases off-campus.  Basically, when you are prompted to login, your internet traffic is funneled through a server that masks your IP address, changing it to one the databases know as a "PVCC" IP address.  (If you want to learn more about this, you can read "What is a Proxy Server? In English, please.")  If the security settings on your wifi router are too high, it may block this type of connection.  Our proxy server also listens at non-standard ports 2048 and 2443.  This has been known to cause problems.  So what can you do?
      1. If you are on a wifi network at your job, either speak with your IT department at work or wait until you get home to access our databases.  
      2. If your router is owned by a company like Comcast or CenturyLink, you can ask them to check your security settings.  Explain that you need to access a proxy server with non-standard ports 2048 and 2443.  
      3. If you bought your router and can't figure out the problem, please email reference@pvcc.edu or call 434-961-5309.  We will put you in touch with our IT Help Desk who can help troubleshoot the problem.
         
    2. Common laptop problem - Again, this is usually tied to security settings on your laptop.  Please check your antivirus software and network settings to make sure you are not blocking proxy connections as explained in the "common wifi problem" section above.  If you can't figure out the problem, email the library at reference@pvcc.edu or call 434-961-5309.  We will put you in touch with our IT Help Desk who can help troubleshoot the problem.