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Search@UW Guide: Fixing Linking Errors

An overview of the new search system


This page provides an overview of some common troubleshooting techniques you can use when there are problems obtaining the full text of your search results.

In general, it is worth keeping in mind that our linking system has a lot of moving parts, and that many things can therefore go wrong in the retrieval processsome of which you can work around, some of which we can fix for you, and others still that we need to report as bugs.

Whenever you encounter an issue with a defective link, please let us know about the problem so that we may potentially fix it. This is best done by using the form linked to from "Report A Bad Link" on the Search@UW pages for individual item records.

If all else fails, you can request items we don't have immediate access to from interlibrary loan. This is done by using the "Request A Copy" link, if present, or if this link is missing, by manually completing an interlibray loan request form. The interlibrary loan service usually takes between a few hours and a few days, and is provided at no direct cost to you.

Isolate Potential Problems on Your End

Make sure your operating system, web browser, and any other relevant software (for example, a PDF reader) are up to date.

If possible, test access from a different browser, device, or connection.

Clearing any cookies from or using your browser's private/incognito mode may also fix the problem.

If a Link Does Not Go Where You Expected

Not all of our subscriptions support "deep linking" to individual articles. You may therefore at times land on an e-journal homepage, from which you can browse or search for your desired article.

If no link is offered for an item that is shown as having full-text access, or if the link is broken, you can also try starting from our journal search or, if known, the individual database that carries the journal, and conduct your search from there.

When more than one source link is offered for an item (for example if multiple databases carry a journal) and one of the links is faulty, another may still work.

Also, double check the record is for something you actually want. Search@UW contains plenty of short book reviews, conference poster abstracts, press releases, and other items that may not be super useful for scholarly research.

Other Errors

If there is no full-text link to the article you want, that is because we don't have access to the journal. We cannot subscribe to every title in existence, after all! In such cases, you may sign in and use the "Request a Copy" option, which will lead to a filled-in interlibrary loan form.

Some of our content licenses place caps on the number of people that can be looking at a title at the same time. If you receive an error message about a limit for concurrent users being reached, the only solution is to try connecting at a later time.

If we have not properly configured a website for remote access (from off-campus), an error message will show. Please report the error to us, and read the information on the resulting page about possible workarounds.

Encountering a Paywall?

Research articles and other scholarly materials may be freely available on the open web, and discoverable via Google or your specialty search engine of choice. You can also Ask a Librarian for help in searching for Open Access titles.

If you are connecting from off-campus, make sure that "" appears somewhere in your browser's address bar. If not, plug your address in to the Off-Campus URL Generator and use the resulting link.

Remember, as a failsafe, you may get most library items via interlibrary loan.