Easily Access Academic Journals Off Campus with a Firefox Bookmark

As a grad student, I do lots of searches for research related to my own. When I am off campus, a lot of the relevant results are not open access. In that case, I have to log onto my school's library website and search for the journal or article there. It is quite a hassle. Luckily, I recently noticed that the website is predictably modified after I log into the library. I go to Ohio State University, and before and after logging in the websites will be http://www.jstor.org/... and http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/..., for example. It doesn't matter which journal or website I am looking at. If OSU has access, it will show up with .proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu after the .com/.org/etc.

So I was able to save myself a few steps by typing that in instead of going through the library's website. I should also be sure to note that typing this in brings you to an OSU log in screen. Only those with valid access can use this shortcut, but I assume other schools have the same setup.

This is still more busy work than I would like, so I searched for ways to automatically do this. Lifehacker has some address bar shortcuts, but nothing that quite works. I came across a  Firefox add-on called URL Swap that seems like it could do the trick. However, when setting it up, I happened to find this post on Stack Overflow. The second answer has exactly what I am looking for, changing .ExtraPart to .proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu.

I created a bookmark on my bookmarks toolbar with the javascript:
javascript:(function(){ var curloc = window.location.toString(); var newloc = curloc.substring(0, curloc.indexOf("/", 8)) + ".proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu" + curloc.substring(curloc.indexOf("/", 8)); location.href=newloc; })()

and it works perfectly. This trick is so useful I wanted to share it to save others some time.
Andrew J. Landgraf
Data Scientist
comments powered by Disqus