Universal URLs can lead to you being asked which ebrary site to use

ebrary URL’s attempt to redirect the user to the ebrary site stored in their browser’s ebrary cookie.

If you are offered access to several ebrary sites, including yours:

You just need to select your institution from the ones listed; you will only need to do this once

If you’re only offered access to ebrary’s TitlePreview site:

ebrary’s bookshelf URLs don’t indicate a particular ebrary site (so that they can be shared and opened by users at different ebrary sites).  If you are using a bookshelf URL, and you haven’t opened your ebrary site in the browser you’re using (or you’ve cleared your browser’s cookies since then), you’ll need to open your ebrary site in the browser first, THEN paste the URL into a new browser tab.

The reason ebrary uses Universal URLs:

ebrary URLs are in the format http://site.ebrary.com/lib/xxxxx
where xxxxx is your ebrary site name (often same as domain name)

For users who only visit one ebrary site, behavior is unaffected.  All users from UNIVERSITY A when accessing will be passed through automatically and a cookie will record them as having access to UNIVERSITY A.  Here is where the feature comes into play.  ebrary URLs are in catalogs all over the internet and our links are indexed in numerous places.

For example, lets say a student from UNIVERSITY A is browsing the web and comes across the following URL on UNIVERSITY B’s catalog.


While the user will not have access to UNIVERSITY B’s ebrary site, the system will check the ebrary sites that the user has had access to and then check to see if the document is available there.  So if the student were to click on the above link, the new URL redirect system should recognize that the students has access to UNIVERSITY A’s ebrary site and that the document is available there and automatically redirect correctly.  Before, the student would have simply gotten an unauthorized access message from the UNIVERSITY B ebrary site.


If you receive the error message “Document Unavailable”

This error message means that the system cannot find the document to show it to you. This happens for one of the following reasons:

  • There are errors in the document that need to be addressed
  • The publisher requested that we remove the title from our database
  • A new edition of the document has been released and the new edition has a different document identification number.

If you would like to know specifically which of the above applies to the specific document you are receiving this error message with, then let us know and we can find out for you.

To connect to ebrary from off-site/off-campus

Remotely connecting to ebrary depends on what method of remote authentication is used by your Library. Many institutions will post instructions on their website – look on your library website to see if there are off-campus links to ebrary. Otherwise, contact your librarian.

If you encounter an “Unauthorized Access” error message, there may be other ways to access your ebrary site

The “Unauthorized Access” message means that the IP address you are connecting from is not authorized to access ebrary.  Your institution librarians should be your first point of contact as they are most familiar with your library’s authentication procedures.

If you are accessing ebrary from an on-campus location that should be authorized, contact your librarian and request they update the list of on-campus IP addresses with ebrary.

If you are accessing ebrary from off-campus, then you need to use some sort of authorized remote access.  Typically libraries have a remote access protocol in place, and it is often listed on the institution’s library website – there may even be links there to access ebrary from off campus once you’ve signed in through your institution’s portal.

If you only receive the error message when attempting to sign in to your personal ebrary account, please contact us here at support@ebrary.com – we may be able to fix the problem with a simple “disable SSL” setting.

Suggestions or requests to add content to ebrary

If there are titles ebrary does not currently offer that you would like us to offer, please email us at support@ebrary.com. However, please be advised that ebrary cannot guarantee that titles you request will be added. We must first establish a relationship with a publisher and that publisher then needs to grant us special copyright permissions to put the content in an online format. This takes time, and some publishers are not be interested in publishing content online.