Article Access Tools
Did you know that many academic articles behind a paywall have a free open access version available? Did you know that you can connect external tools to your library account for seamless access to our subscriptions?
This curated list of tools goes beyond our library catalog to help you access resources using both U of I library subscriptions and open access repositories so that you can get articles in the fastest and simplest way possible. If we don’t have access, please put in a request with Interlibrary Loan. As always, don’t hesitate to contact a reference librarian with any questions!
Tools for article access and discovery on the web:
- Open Access Button (Access)
- Unpaywall (Access)
- Connect Google Scholar to U of I Library (Access)
- Google Scholar Button (Discover)
- Lazy Scholar (Discover)
- Kopernio (Discover)
- U of I Library Log-in Bookmarklet (Access)
Open Access Button
When you encounter an article behind a paywall that the library doesn’t subscribe to, the Open Access Button can quickly check for a freely available version. Furthermore, if the article is not found in their indexes, it will mediate the process of requesting an open copy from the author. In fact, most major publishers permit authors to post a copy of the article in institutional repositories. Try it on the website or install the browser extension.
Unpaywall uses DOIs to match an article behind a paywall with a freely available version from an index of nearly 25 million free scholarly articles maintained by nonprofit Our Research. Unpaywall crawls tens of thousands of hosting locations, including institutional and disciplinary repositories, academic journal websites, and more. Install the browser extension to check for open versions of any article.
Connect Google Scholar to U of I Library
Google Scholar is probably the largest index of academic literature on the web. While it is not well curated and has some issues, it is often a remarkably valuable and easy to use tool. Linking your U of I Library account makes it possible to check our subscriptions for full text access directly on Google Scholar searches.
- Sign in to Google Scholar with your Gmail / Google account (link in upper right corner).
- Go to your Settings (accessible from the menu button in the upper left corner).
- Click on “Library links”.
- Type “Idaho” in the search box, select both “Univ of Idaho - Get it” and “Open WorldCat - Library Search” from the list, and click on “Save”.
- Now your Google Scholar search results will show a link “Univ of Idaho - Get it” to access full text items in our subscriptions. Note: Scholar can only cross-check some of our holdings so may not comprehensively list access options.
Google Scholar Button
The Google Scholar Button treats any webpage like an article and looks it up in Google Scholar. It provides shortcuts to some of Google Scholar’s features, like citing articles or other versions, as well as the search engine itself. The particular value of the Google Scholar Button is that you can highlight some chunk of text on a webpage and with a click of the button, you can search for items with that phrasing. It’s an efficient means to finding other articles on related topics reasonably quickly. And since it provides a proxy link for items that the U of I subscribes to, it works as an alternative tool for accessing subscribed content, not just open content.
Lazy Scholar is focused on easing access to content using existing indices, regardless of their openness. It has settings to enable authentication through a proxy server to access material through U of I subscriptions. It collects citation information, scans articles for references and other content, and exports papers to reference manager software. It is maintained by researcher Colby Vorland.
Kopernio searches Web of Science and Pubmed then connects to library subscriptions and open access options to simplify access to articles. Developed by Clarivate Analytics, the company that operates the Web of Science and Endnote, Kopernio’s primary value is ease of accessing materials, as well as quick, efficient searching. It is offered via a freemium model that provides PDF storage and sharing with others.
U of I Library Log-in Bookmarklet
The log-in bookmarklet helps you to log in through the library from wherever you are on the internet without leaving that page. So, say you find an article via Google that asks for you to sign in to access it, just click on the bookmarklet link in your bookmarks bar and this tool will automatically log you in and grant you access, if the library subscribes to the journal or database in which it’s held.
- Add the following link to your bookmarks UI LIB Log-in by dragging it to your bookmarks or right-clicking it and selecting bookmark/add to favorites.
- Alternatively, if your browser doesn’t support creating bookmarks from links (e.g. iPad), bookmark this page, then edit the new bookmark with a title of your choosing and add the following text as the URL:
Try it out!
- From off-campus, go to this article’s website, then click on the UIdaho Library Log-in bookmarklet.
- Enter your UI credentials, then click Submit. You should return to the page with access to the article!
- If you see an error message, it may be a website we have not enabled through our authentication server.
- If it works but you still do not have access to the article, it may not be one to which the University of Idaho currently subscribes.
- Please report problems or request assistance by contacting the library Reference Desk, email@example.com.
Much of this content was adapted from librarian Jeremy Kenyon’s Tools for Accessing Literature on the Web workshop. More details, tools, and references can be found on the workshop site.