Login to library resources change: Summer 2013

The process of logging into library resources like Science Direct has recently changed. You are now asked to login with a lower case version of your username. If you always used to type in a lowercase username, then this change will make no difference to you, but that is not the case for everyone. The change is small and the differences subtle, but worth exploring.

Before the change you could login as, say,  ‘fbloggs123’ or ‘FBloggs123’ and the form itself did not object. Behind the scenes the username gets encrypted before being sent on the the Service Provider (e.g. Elsevier who run Science Direct). It was kind of nice not to have to remember exactly how you typed in the username last time, the system would still let you in, but once in you might find disadvantages:

  1. Any Saved Searches, Alerts or other Personalised Features made for one encrypted form of you username would not be present for you, and it would not be clear why.
  2. The Service Provider would not know how many individuals were using their service. This may affect their pricing structure and in turn the range of services available to the university.

Both of these disadvantages were removed by having the form insist on lower case user names. However, there have been reports of negative consequences too. So here are ways of getting round them:

Browser insisting on upper case form of Username

Most users reporting this issue have been using Firefox. It appears that Firefox offers to remember usernames for some sites and even if you type in a lower case username will automatically replace your input with its stored uppercase form. The way round this is to delete the stored username in the browser:

  1. Go to the Options item on the Tools menu;
  2. Select the Security tab;
  3. Check out the Exceptions button on the ‘Remember passwords for sites’ section;
  4. Delete any lines with uppercase usernames where these might have caused problems.

Missing profile in RefWorks

If a profile in RefWorks has been created for the uppercase version of your username, this will not be available if you login with the lower case form. It does not mean that the collected references are lost, just that you can’t connect to them. It will require assistance from RefWorks to be re-united with your references. You can call the library for help with this or contact RefWorks directly, email them at support@refworks.com.

Other missing alerts, searches and profiles

You may have other alerts, saved searches or personalisation features on sites like Scopus, Zetoc or Digimap. The best option here would be to contact the library, email justask@dmu.ac.uk, and we will either raise a call for you or put you in touch with the relevant helpdesk to transfer such features to your new profile on each site.


About Philip Adams

Senior Assistant Librarian at De Montfort University. I am interested in digital preservation and the use of data to measure a library's impact. All comments own.
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