Off Campus Sign In is the mechanism the library uses to authenticate remote users (off campus) to access restricted resources. Most of the links on the library's web site are freely available to all users, but some are restricted for various reasons. Off Campus Sign In is a service that resides on a computer in the library.
Databases, ebooks, and ejournals are restricted contractually to currently enrolled students and currently employed faculty and staff by the companies who provide the content. The reason is to prevent loss of sales to unaffiliated customers (individuals and companies) who might otherwise forego their own electronic subscriptions and use a library's access instead. Access to many Virginia Tech electronic theses and dissertations are restricted by the authors themselves who wish to limit global Internet availability pending possible publication elsewhere in the form of books and articles. These materials are indicated by a VT logo.
Basically, if your computer is on the campus network (wired or wireless), you should be able to access library resources. When outside the campus network (home ISP, cellular network, school or corporate network), you'll need to do something to make it appear you are on the campus network.
There are three typical cases when Off Campus Sign In doesn't work:
If you click on the Off Campus Sign In button, and get a 'this page cannot be displayed', 'page not found', 'address not found', or just a blank page, you have a firewall issue.
If you connecting to the Internet using your work place's network or via a public school network, the most likely answer is that your workplace uses a firewall or another proxy server itself. This is a consequence of your workplace's network configuration. Please refer your local networking person to the trouble-shooting page at Useful Utilities to see if there is a workaround. Using your home ISP is another option.
If the firewall is something you installed on your local computer, you'll need to open ports 2443 and 8080 for Off Campus Sign In to work. The library doesn't provide support for your firewall software, so we can't answer questions about how to change it.
Another option when a firewall blocks access to the Off Campus Sign In page is to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that will route your Internet traffic through a server on the Virginia Tech campus, which will use a Virginia Tech internet address and allow you access to restricted library resources. VPN access is free for students, faculty, and staff who have a campus wireless network account. These accounts are free for students and are free for faculty and staff when associated with a paid ethernet port. Even if you will never use the Blacksburg campus's wireless network, establish a wireless network account so that you can use the VT VPN.
If you can get to the login screen, but your PID/password doesn't work, there are a few possible fixes:
Only current Virginia Tech affiliates have access to Off Campus Sign In. If you have graduated or not paid tuition in over a year, you are likely no longer eligible.
Your PID is not an email address; don't include the @vt.edu part. You also can't enter any aliases you have set up. The corresponding password is the same one you would use for HokieSPA and MyVT (but not your email on Google--it uses a different password). Can't remember your PID/password? You can reset it online.
All PID passwords now expire after one year. If your password is expired, you won't be able to use Off Campus Sign In until it is changed.
You can check you are entering the correct PID/password, that your password has not expired, and that your status allows access by logging into MyVT. If you can login there, you are using the right PID/password combination.
To check your status, switch to the Personal Info tab, then use the Manage Your Profile link. Under Affiliations, you want to see at least one of these:
To check your password expiration date, switch to the Personal Info tab, then use the Manage Your Profile link. You will see both your Last Password Change date, and your Password Expiration Date. If your password is expired, use the Change Your Password link just above these dates. This change should be active in Off Campus Sign In in less than 15 minutes.
If all the steps above indicate you should have access, but still can't get in, we may have manually blocked you. Excessive downloading or access from multiple countries at once triggers alerts for us. This typically happens when someone not affiliated with Virginia Tech is using your PID/password, either because you purposely shared your account or someone stole your account information.
If we find you are on our blocked list, we'll have you change your password and take other steps to protect your account before we restore access to you.
We maintain a list of which resources, sites, and addresses should be proxied through Off Campus Sign In. Sometimes companies change their address or a new resource has not been added to our list. Use Ask a Librarian to determine if this is the case and we'll get it fixed as soon as possible.
It's hard to say exactly. In principle, as long as you do not exit from your browser you should stay authenticated, but experience has shown that Off Campus Sign In authentication can be disrupted for a variety of reasons, so you may have to login more than once during your online session.
If you find that you are frequently losing your authenticated connection, install the LibX browser extension. When you reach a restricted resource and realize you have not passed through the Off Campus Sign In server, you can simply right-click on the page and reload the page through Off Campus Sign In.
Most of the Library's databases and electronic journals have time-out periods set, so when the default inactivity threshold has been reached, you will be disconnected - but probably still authenticated. A few sites provide prompts when disconnection is imminent. Clicking somewhere on the site from time-to-time will extend your session. A time-out can occur when reading a lengthy document on-line without any keyboard activity.
Yes, but only if the instructor has included links with Off Campus Sign In embedded as part of the address. Scholar links to restricted library resources that work on-campus can be modified to work off-campus by adding an authentication string
http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/login?url= to the beginning of the address. Example: there is a link on a Scholar page to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Virginia Tech's using Macs to create a supercomputer. The link
http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v50/i11/11a03801.htm works on-campus because the Library has a campus site license for this publication. Off-campus users will not be able to connect because they have not passed through the Library's authentication screening first. Scholar authentication is not the same as Library authentication. Adding the base Off Campus Sign In string produces a URL that works for all users:
First, be sure you have followed all the steps above to diagnose your problem. Once you are sure the issue is not a firewall, password problem, or affiliation problem, you can use the chat service or support email linked on the top right side of this page. Be prepared to supply the results of all the steps above opr any specific error messages you are seeing.
Email the Distance Education support group or use the chat service below.
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