Remote Login Help

General Questions

Will my library card work?

A: Most Massachusetts library cards will be valid. However, not every library in Massachusetts has had its library cards registered to use these databases.

Most public and academic libraries, and a few school libraries are registered. The simplest way to gain access to the databases is to obtain a library card from your local Massachusetts public library.

I live out of state. How can I use these databases?

A: We're sorry, but these commercial databases are only available to registered users of Massachusetts libraries.

I have library cards from multiple libraries. Is there a difference?

A: There are six regional library systems in Massachusetts. Database offerings do vary somewhat from region to region. You will have access to a core set of databases including the Gale InfoTrac databases, Massachusetts newspapers, and netLibrary eBooks from anywhere in the state.

Technical Questions

Why do I keep getting prompted for a username or password when I log on to a magazine or newspaper database?

A: You should not be prompted for a username and password once you have typed in your Massachusetts library card number. This is an error, or it indicates a software conflict on your PC. These magazine and newspaper databases are licensed through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Massachusetts Regional Library Systems, or Massachusetts Library Networks. Though they are not free resources, they have been made available freely to anyone with a valid library card from a Massachusetts library.

When you go to view a magazine or newspaper database from home, the database vendor must check to see that you have logged in with an authorized library card. In some cases, they use a technique called a "referring page", "referring URL" or "HTTP_REFERER" method of authentication. This piece of information, carried by your web browser, assures the database provider that you successfully came through the Board's login process.

Some of the new Internet security products that many users have installed on their PCs block the ability of the database provider from seeing referring URL information. The database provider thus does not know you came from our Web site, and that you have already been approved to see their product. Not knowing that you are approved, they ask you for a username and password. The two most popular families of security software that block referring URLs are the Norton Internet Security/Norton Personal Firewall products and Zone Alarm Pro. (The free Zone Alarm basic product does not block referring URLs).

In order to allow database vendor Web sites to see referring URLs, you must tell your security software that these are trusted Web sites. The Symantec notice provides instructions on how to establish trusted sites for the Norton family of software. For ZoneAlarm Pro, simply make sure that the privacy panel's cookie control custom button to 'Remove private header information' is NOT checked.

Here is a list of what you should enter as the trusted Web site for some of the databases we provide:

Product Trusted Web site(s)
bigChalk Electric Library
Grolier Encyclopedias
Newsbank Newspapers
Proquest Newspapers and
(2 sites must be trusted)
Qikan Library
Science Online
World Book Online

Do not add a "www" before these URLS, if we do not show it.

If you are required to specify a URL as the referring URL, use the following:

Hey! You are trying to place a cookie on my computer.

A: When you log into the remote databases, a temporary "session" cookie will be set on your computer. It stays in your computer's memory and is not stored permanently. Once you close up your web browser, the cookie goes away. Currently, you must allow the cookie to be accepted in order to search these databases.

Please see the MBLC Privacy Policy for a description of the use of cookies, and the types of information that are stored by the MBLC.

I get the following error message when I come in from the Boston Public Library's Electronic Resources Page: Couldn't find a cookie to get session data while attempting to log and redirect to database.

A: This message may occur when you try to connect to these databases from the Boston Public Library web site and other web sites that use frames. The cookie to being set on your computer is seen by some browsers (notably Internet Explorer 6.x) as being "third-party", or foreign cookies. There are a couple of ways to overcome this problem:

  1. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools | Internet Options. Select the Privacy tab.
    Click the "Edit" button.
    Add MBLC to your list of sites from which to allow cookies. Click OK.

  2. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools | Internet Options.
    Select the Privacy tab.
    Click the "Advanced" button.
    Click "Override automatic cookie handling"
    Check the "Always allow session cookies" box
    We have now added a "compact privacy policy" to our cookie that should help eliminate this problem on Internet Explorer 6.x.

Who do I contact with a problem?

A: If you are seeing error messages from the MBLC web site, or if you are having a problem getting into a particular database, please send an email to: .

Page last updated on 07/3/2015