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Off-Campus Access

The proxy server makes Steen Library electronic fee-based web resources available online to students, faculty, and staff. Users visiting these collections while on-campus will go directly to the resource without delay, while off-campus users will be asked to verify their mySFA user credentials.

There are two methods for accessing these services from off-campus: directly from the Library website, or from off-campus.

On-Campus users will be able to click directly through to whatever resource they are trying to find by virtue of being on the SFA campus. Off campus users should follow the instructions below:

EZ Proxy Instructions

You must be enrolled for the CURRENT SEMESTER or a currently employed Faculty/Staff member in order to use the proxy-based services.

1. Once you click on a fee-based resource from the Library website(e.g.: EBSCO), the box below should appear:


Enter your MySFA username in the 'MySFA User Name' field, and your MySFA password in the 'MySFA Password' field, then click 'OK'. You should now be forwarded to the appropriate resource.

Password resets for both employees and staff are performed by the Help Desk at (936) 468-4357.

Access Problems

Steen Library users may encounter difficulty in certain circumstances when trying to access fee-based database services from off-campus. We have received numerous requests for information about this problem and suggestions for overcoming it. The following information is provided with these concerns in mind.

Your Personal Computer and Firewalls

Often times, computers will come pre-installed with Firewalls, and one of the most commonly installed software packages by many vendors is Norton Security. We have had numerous reports of this program interfering with proxy access to journals and databases. Our current recommendation is to disable or turn off this program for the duration of your research. Once you finish working with our online databases or journals, please re-enable your product. Complete instructions are provided by Symantec here.

How access is provided to off-campus users

Steen Library databases are licensed on the basis of the SFA domain (sfasu.edu). All network connections on the SFA campus have the sfasu domain address, ensuring easy access to these databases from anywhere on campus. Users attempting access from off campus must be identified to the database server as legitimate SFA users having the SFA domain address. Off-campus users who access Steen databases through an internet service provider, must have the proxy server identify them as legitimate.

The Ralph W. Steen Library proxy server provides the sfasu domain address and acts as an intermediary between user computers and the servers on which the databases reside. Information is passed from the users to the proxy server, and from the proxy server to the database servers and back again. The database servers never actually interact with the users, but with the proxy server representing them. The presence of this intermediary server is a necessary part of providing access under available licensing arrangements, but it can cause problems in specific circumstances. The most common problems are described below.

Accessing from an ISD or Public Library

If you are attempting to access the proxy server from a school or public library network or other institution (hospitals, government agency) which acts as its own internet service provider (ISP), ask your institutional technical support staff if a firewall is in place.

A firewall is hardware and/or software which is intended to restrict server access for its network users. Many school districts, public libraries, some businesses, and other organizations have installed firewalls to prevent young people or their workers from accessing pornographic and other undesirable web sites. Unfortunately, these same firewalls that provide protection from unwanted sources may also prevent you from accessing Steen library's proxy server to conduct needed research.

What to do about institutional access problems

If your school or public library does have a firewall in place, ask your institutional technical support staff whether permissions can be altered to permit access to the Steen Library proxy server.

Caching problems with ISPs

In order to speed up response times for users, many ISPs cache (store) frequently used web pages on their own servers. The proxy server page on the library's web site (library.sfasu.edu), may be a cached page on ISP servers. Consequently, users attempting to access the proxy server through these service providers never get to the proxy server, only the cached pages, and the proxy server consequently cannot act as an intermediary for them with the database servers. As we have been able to identify problem ISPs, we have worked with them to eliminate caching of Library web pages.

If you have any further problems or difficulty using your MySFA username & password combination, please contact the Help Desk at (936) 468-4357.

For further assistance with Library Resources, please contact:
Library Web Services | libwebdev@sfasu.edu | (936) 468-2935