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What authentication methods are available for accessing EBSCO interfaces?

EBSCO offers several different methods of authentication for users: En Español

  • IP Address
  • Patterned IDs
  • Patron ID files
  • Referring URL
  • User ID and Password
  • Cookie 
  • OpenAthens 
  • Shibboleth 
  • HTTPS 
  • Personal User
  • Guest Access
  • Embedded URL

IP Address authentication is the traditional method of identifying users requesting access to vendor databases. Users gain access based on their computer or site's IP address (numerical address). The URL to use for IP authentication is

Patterned ID authentication provides access to EBSCOhost via a library card or bar code number. If the number entered does not match an ID set up by the library administrator, access is not permitted. The administrator can decide which characters are significant and compare up to 30 characters if needed. The URL to use for Patterned ID authentication is

Patron ID (customer coordinated) authentication lets you use library or patron card numbers (up to 20 characters) to control access. The librarian provides EBSCO with a list of IDs that are used to identify users asking for access to databases. Without an ID number, assigned by library staff, a user cannot access EBSCOhost. You can also customize the login prompts and easily delete one user's access without affecting another's. The URL to use for Patron ID authentication is

Referring URL authentication provides access to EBSCOhost from a secure home page on the library's web server. This identifies users by the originating URL (the page from which they came) and eliminates the need for user IDs. EBSCOhost validates the user if they are coming from an approved URL. If a user is trying to log in from a different URL, the system will not authenticate. The URL that should be used with Referring URL authentication is

User ID and Password authentication can be useful to users who access EBSCOhost remotely. The library administrator can provide users with a user ID and password, providing instant access to EBSCOhost from their home or school computer. The URL that should be used with User ID/Password authentication is

Cookie authentication tells EBSCOhost to write a cookie so that users do not have to key in authentication information every time they log in. The URL that should be used with Cookie authentication is

OpenAthens authentication is available for customers with academic reference systems. The user is prompted for an OpenAthens user name and password. The URL that should be used with Athens authentication is

Shibboleth authentication is also available. If you are using Shibboleth to authenticate your users, you must set up your Shibboleth affiliations. The URL that should be used with Shibboleth authentication is

HTTPS authentication enables users to keep the transmission of their searches and results confidential. HTTPS denies unauthorized users from viewing a customer’s searches or results information. The library administrator enables HTTPS access at the profile level.

Personal User authentication allows users to create personal user accounts to access your EBSCOhost resources directly, without first having to authenticate to your institution. It also allows administrators to create personal user accounts for members of your institution in EBSCOadmin. The URL that should be used with Personal User authentication is

Guest Access allows non-authenticated users to begin searching without logging in. Users can search all materials that belong to the library, including catalog results. If the user finds an article they would like to read, they can log in and access the full text. (Available for EBSCO Discovery Service and Full Text Finder)

Embedded URL allows you to add a suffix to the end of a URL to direct your patrons to a specific group or profile, such as a business section or a children's collection.

You may also combine different authentication types on a single login URL. When more than one authentication type is used, they will be recognized in the order listed.

For example, the following link will attempt to use the current IP address to authenticate, if not found it will proceed to look for an EBSCOhost cookie, and then prompt for an ID and password if neither IP nor cookie is recognized:,cookie,uid

You can use EBSCOadmin to set up your method of authentication. To access EBSCOadmin, use the following URL:


See also: