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Graduate Workshop 2011: Find Information while you Sleep: Get Free Access

Get Free Access

The library pays for you to have access to many journals, articles, databases, and ebooks. Many online journals require subscriptions. The library pays many subscriptions for you. Because RSS feeds and email alerts don’t always recognize you as an MU member, you might, at some point, be taken to a page that asks you to pay before reading an article. You should never have to pay because either the library has a subscription that you can use to read the article or the library can borrow a free copy of the article for you. 

Instructions for Articles:

Articles/Journals while on-campus:

If you are using MU's wireless or using a computer in a campus lab or library, you should be automatically logged in and recognized as an MU member.

Articles/Journals while off-campus:

If you are off campus, you will need to sign in with your paw print and password to get free access through MU. There are a couple of ways to do this:

VPN Software:

Download a VPN software for free from the university. With this software, you will always be treated like you are on campus, and you will be automatically logged in.

Add a Proxy String:

You can force the article to ask you to log in by using a proxy string. Having a proxy string at the start of a URL will let you log in to read the article If the library has a subscription to or access to the resource.

This is MU's proxy string:

Here is an article link that will not work properly if you are off campus. This would be the link you would get from a Google search for this article.

Here is a link that will work off campus because it has a proxy string added in front of it. (You can see the proxy string in italics.) This will allow you to log in.

Many RSS readers allow you to set your preferences so that you will be automatically logged in and recognized as having free access. This is nice because you won't have to worry about any extra steps. Different readers have different steps of how to set this up, but you will probably need to copy and save the proxy string in the program.

Remember that this will only work for articles the library has access to. If you want an article the library doesn't have, fill out this form and have a PDF of the article emailed to you for free.

Go Through the Library Website:

If you get the article by searching through the library’s website, you will be recognized and asked to log in. If you try to get to the article from Google or a non-library website, you will not be recognized, and you will be asked to pay. One solution is to fill out some information on this library page, and you will be taken to where you can find the journal (print and/or online) if the library has a subscription. Then, because you are going through the MU Libraries website to get the article, you will be recognized as an MU person and asked to log in. If you want an article the library doesn't have, fill in this form and have a PDF of the article emailed to you for free.


You can install LibX, a Firefox toolbar that will add the proxy string for you. To learn more about Libx go here, and to learn more about off-campus access with LibX, go here.

Instructions for Books: 

First, check to see if MU  owns it by searching MERLIN here.This will search MU libraries.

Search MERLIN here to see if another library has the book. (Be sure to choose "All MERLIN.") If another library has it, click the blue "Request" button and choose where you want the book to be sent. For more help, see this page.

If there are no other copies in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG, search for the book in MOBIUS and follow the instructions at this page.

If there are no copies in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG or MOBIUS, fill out this Interlibrary Loan form.

This is all free, and you will not be charged for the book. You will be able to keep the book the longest from MERLIN,  shorter from MOBIUS, and even shorter for an Interlibrary Loan book.

Contact for Assistance

Ashley Nelson
(573) 882-1670

Ellis Library Reference
(573) 882-4581
Ask a Librarian