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We've all got those frustrating calls from students who are off campus and can't gain access into the library's databases. They are difficult calls to solve because there is rarely a silver bullet, and they require tenacious troubleshooting.

Here are some tips to deal with this issue.


Can they log into myUSF? If so, proceed down this list. If not, refer them to the ITS Help Desk (x6667).


Have the patron log into their library record by going to this link:
(this is the same as if they navigated to the 'view your library record' button on the library home page)

-> Did it work? If so, starting at the Library homepage, have them navigate to the database they want to enter in the same Internet Browser Window and see if they can get in. It should work.
-> If it didn't work, have them tell you specifically what the error message says and write it down. Sometimes this can shed light on the problem. If you end up passing on the problem to a librarian, give them this error message.


Ask if they recently changed their myUSF password.
We've seen a lag between myUSF syncing with the proxy server that database access requests go through, unfortunately. Tell the patron to try their old password. If it works, they are set until the servers sync, at which point they can try their new password. If that doesn't work...


Verify that their patron record is active and has no holds. To do this, get the patron's first and last name and ask a librarian or someone at the Circulation Desk to look up the patron in Sierra, our patron database. If there is a problem, it will be revealed at this point. If there is not a problem and the record it up to date and active, then...


Advise the patron to clear their cache, cookies, and saved password (if they saved it). It's worth a try although it usually acts more as a placebo. You may have to look up directions online based on their operating system and Internet browser if they don't know how to do it on their own. You can also advise them to try a different browser, which is sort of a similar strategy.


Last option is installing the Virtual Private Network (VPN) software. This software makes their computer act like it is on campus so they won't be prompted to login to the databases. ITS can assist with technical problems doing this, so if the patron has difficulty, advise them to call the Help Desk at (415) 422-6667.


Whether or not you totally solved the problem, ask them if they want someone to follow up with them, and get their name, email address, and phone number. Pass that on to Kelci, Randy, or the librarian with whom you're working that day. If they don't want to have us follow up, at least encourage them to call back and update us if the situation changes.

Thank you very much for helping patrons with these difficult technical difficulties!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 20th, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tips and help!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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