Remote Access 

Penn State University Libraries’ online resources can be accessed wherever you are and typically you will be prompted to provide your Penn State Access Account user ID and password if accessing resources remotely.

Below find some suggestions on how to solve common problems encountered when accessing Libraries’ resources remotely.[1]

Error text:

Authentication Failure: The database that you selected is for use by the students, faculty and staff of the Pennsylvania State University only.

Where you see it:

Library databases, links to Course Reserve full-text articles

What it could mean:

  • You’re not a current Penn State student, faculty or staff member, or
  • You’re logged in with an incorrect credential (Friends of Penn State instead of student Access Account user ID)

What to do:

  1. First, try logging into another WebAccess authenticated resource, like Canvas or My Library Account, then try the database link again
  2. If you’re still seeing the authentication error, then you may be logged in with your Friends of Penn State (FPS) account instead of your Access Account user ID. This is more likely if your user ID is numbered in the 5000 range (ABC5001, DEF5002, etc.), and if you created identical passwords for both types of account.
  3. You can usually fix the problem by going to the website and changing your Access Account password. Then, close and reopen your browser, log in with your new password and try the resource again.
  4. If you’re still having trouble after changing your Access account password, then you’ll need to contact the IT Services Desk for assistance by sending an email to or by calling 814-865-4357.
  5. If off campus, try downloading and installing the LIAS VPN (see VPN chapter).


You are prompted to login or create an account in a specific database or resource (not WebAccess) or your Penn State Access Account user ID and password is not accepted by a specific database.

Where you see it:

Hoover’s, Web of Science, Engineering Village 2 (Compendex), possibly other databases.

What it could mean:

  • The database URL doesn’t contain Penn State authentication information.

What to do:

  1. Be sure that you’re trying to access through the PSU Libraries website by using LionSearch or the Databases by Title (A-Z) list.
  2. Try logging into another WebAccess authenticated resource, like Canvas, LionPath or My Library Account, and try the database link again.
  3. Close and reopen your browser or try a different browser.
  4. Try clearing your browser cache. This is usually found in the browser settings, but instructions are differnt for each browser. Try Googling “clear cache (your browser name/version)” to find instructions on the web.
  5. If off campus, try downloading and installing the LIAS VPN (see VPN chapter).


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