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Remote Access to Library Resources via OpenAthens

This guide provides information for remote access to UMB online library resources via OpenAthens. OpenAthens was launched on June 21, 2022.

Contact Us & FAQs

Contact Us

Questions or experiencing access issues? Please contact us at

Below are some FAQs:

Why is the library switching to OpenAthens?

We’ve moved to OpenAthens because it offers increased control and security of library resources, and it streamlines the research experience. It increases authenticated browser sessions to 8 hours or until you close out the browser (fewer logins!) and allows users to use the “log in” links on publisher websites.

Will I need to log in when I’m on-campus?

You will not need to log in when you’re on-campus for most resources. Like with our previous authentication method, ezproxy, there are a few exceptions, like our ebooks on Ebook Central and Skillsoft.

The publisher website is asking me for a federation. What is that?

Choose OpenAthens.

I’m getting a “Forbidden” message when I try to access a resource.

There may be an issue with the resource set up on OpenAthens or there may be an issue with your account. Please email with a link to the resource you’re trying to access and let us know if you are a currently enrolled UMB student, staff, faculty, retired faculty, or contingent worker.

I’m getting a “Bad Request” message when I try to access a resource.

There may be an issue with the format of the URL. If you receive this message, please email so that we can assist in locating the URL to the resource.

I'm getting a "UMass Identity Cloud Service: Cannot authenticate the user account. Contact your system administrator error" message when I try to access the resource. 

We've found that this happens when your browser is already logged into a departmental account. Please either 1. log out of your departmental account and log in using your individual account in your browser or 2. use a different browser to log into your individual account and access the resource.

I attempted to log into OpenAthens and received the following message “Username or password were invalid”.

If you have a UMB email and are signing in via the OpenAthens login page (, please use the "Find Your Institution option" instead of the “Sign in with an OpenAthens account”.

My browser bookmark for the resource no longer works. What should I do?

The cleanest way would be to create a new bookmark.  I would suggest looking up the resource in UMBrella and copying the permalink. If you would like a link from the publisher/content-provider website, you may be interested in checking out the How to create persistent links page

Which bookmarks/links do I need to update?

Identify any link with the phrase,  

Why are there percent signs and numbers in some of the links?

This is URL encoding (encoded URL example: This takes characters in the URL that may be considered special characters and replaces them with an alternative. OpenAthens recommends encoding, but unencoded URLS will work just fine with two exceptions: 1. Hoover's Company and Industry Reports link and 2.Credo Instruct links. For those links, you should just right click and copy the Hoover link from our libguide or the Credo Instruct links from the Credo Instruct guide.

What will happen to EZproxy?

Starting in January 2024, our library's online resources will now be accessed exclusively through OpenAthens, which has been running side by side with EZproxy for the last 1.5 years. Ezproxy will no longer be available. Please update bookmarks, saved links, and reading list links.

What happened to my Ebook Central and Skillsoft bookshelves?

Those bookshelves had reset with the switchover to OpenAthens on June 21, 2022.  Notices had gone out with instructions on how to backup the bookshelves. For Ebook Central, we had asked that those interested in restoring their bookshelves back up the email/username that was presented as a 30+ character alphanumeric code from their Ebook Central profile.  After June 21, you can email with the email/username that you have kept safe. We will put in a request with Proquest Ebook Central to restore your bookshelf. This can take several days.

Where can I find the OpenAthens privacy policy?

Privacy Policy 

Data Security and User Privacy FAQs

Umass Boston is releasing the minimum attributes to enable access between UMB users and content providers.  Personalization features are not automatically enabled via UMB login on most of our resources due to this and personal accounts are still required if you want to do things like create alerts.




Healey Library | University of Massachusetts Boston | 100 Morrissey Blvd | Boston, MA | 02125-3393 | 617-287-5900