ERM: Troubleshooting Ejournals and Ebooks in Serials Solutions

Purpose: To troubleshoot problems accessing online journals which have been reported by patrons or other staff members.

1. Try to emulate the problem as reported to you, starting at the same portal if possible (sometimes patron is not clear so dialogue may be required).

2. Use clues to help identify where the problem is stemming from. Possible issues include:

  • There is no SerSol MARC record in URSUS (SerSol records can be identified by a ssj # in 001 field and “WaSeSS” in the 003 field.

    • Most likely the title was just activated on Serials Solutions (a.k.a. SerSol) and it will come with the next monthly download of MARC records for the ILS (URSUS).

    • Or it may be the case that SerSol does not have a full record for that title, and can only supply a brief record which are excluded by the University of Maine’s 360MARC settings for monthly records.   NOTE: This only happens for journals, we always get records for books.  For more information visit: MARC settings for SerSol records.

  • There is a problem with our proxy configuration.

    • Commonly error messages will be blatant and read like the following example:

      To allow to be used in a starting point URL, your EZ proxy administrator must first authorize the host name of the URL in the ezproxy.cfg.file. Within this database’s section of ezproxy.cfg the following line must be added:            


      The EZ proxy server must then be restarted to make the change take effect.

    • If this is the case than we might need to add a new stanza for the resource in the proxy configuration file. Or an existing stanza needs to be updated. Forward the error message to Dept Head with the subject “Config file fix needed”.  If Dept Head not available send to CL3 (Kim).

    • However, sometimes issues with the proxy server are not as clear.  Always check in the URL for the following words: If they are absent, then the website might not be connecting to our proxy server (with the exception of free or open access journals which do not pass through our proxy server).

  • A prompt for username/password usually indicates an authentication problem. Check the order record in Sierra to see if our payment is up to date. (Library Specialist for ordering can help you interpret the order record information). Also check both the order and checkin records for notes which may be useful (any documented service interruptions, customer ID #’s, etc.) EBSCOnet can also be helpful to make sure that the holdings range that we have listed in SerSol matches with our subscription and other information. If all looks good to this point some other possibilities:

    • Title has not been registered; you may be able to confirm or do this yourself. Check the file cabinet for a paper trail indicating registration.  If no records of registration are found, you can confirm, or set up (sometimes necessary) registration by emailing the publisher. If the title is subscribed through EBSCO, EBSCOnet can provide helpful access/registration information.

    • Publisher has the incorrect IP address. If the user name and password for an administrative account are provided it may be helpful to log on and view the account details. Many publishers allow you to add and/or change IP addresses right from you administrative profile.

    • Title was not “turned on” at publisher’s end; check the order record for vendor and contact them to follow up for us (ex: ‘EBS’ in the order record’s “vendor” fixed field indicates Ebsco, so contact Joanna Mayers at In some circumstances, publisher will have to be contacted directly. TIP: Sometimes in this circumstance you may be able to retrieve the article with the admin username and password before they get access turned on, which is helpful if a patron is waiting for access.

3. Once the problem is defined and fixed (remember to be sure and test if two or more full text articles can be retrieved from the journal) contact the patron or staff member who reported it so they can continue their research. If another pathway to the article is immediately available, send to the attention of the patron while longer term solution is underway.  Generally much appreciated.


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