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Electronic Access to Databases and Online Resources

General Information

The URI Libraries provide access to a number of databases. Some databases and resources require validation as a URI student, faculty, or staff member, while others are freely available to Rhode Island residents and the general public.

Access levels are indicated by the icons listed below.


URI Only = URI Only

All of the University Libraries’ Databases and other electronic information services may be searched freely by anyone from within the University Libraries. Most of these online resources may also be searched from any computer on the campus network.

However, remote access (i.e. access from off-campus) to most of the Libraries’ databases is restricted due to license agreements with database vendors and the high cost of databases.

If a database or other electronic information resource is labeled “URI only,” it may be searched remotely by current URI students, staff, faculty and emeritus faculty only.

[Please note that URI alumni/ae, those with Rhode Island Resident Cards, and members of the public are welcome to search databases from within the University Libraries but do not have remote access privileges.]

When you attempt to access a database or other electronic information resource from off-campus, you will be prompted for your URI email address and your URI email/Brightspace/wireless password. You will only need to enter this information once per session. Once you have been “authenticated” as a URI borrower, you may access the online resource and begin your search.

Technically, your level of access to the databases when connecting remotely is determined by your “patron type” as recorded in the URI Libraries' computer system. Your patron type, for example, might identify you as a URI graduate student or an undergraduate.

If you feel that you have been denied access to a database in error, please contact Circulation.

PPL or OSL Only = PPL or OSL Only

Databases and other electronic services labeled “PPL or OSL only“ may be accessed by registered users of either Providence Public Library or the Ocean State Libraries (OSL) only. OSL is a consortium of Rhode Island public libraries.

These databases are restricted to use by PPL or OSL cardholders due to license agreements with the vendors of the databases.

You will be asked to enter your PPL or OSL library card number before connecting to these databases.

For more information about Providence Public Library, see their Web site at For more information about OSL, including member libraries, see the OSL website at To obtain an OSL card, please see a librarian at your public library. Providence Public Library cards are available to residents of Providence only.

If you do not have a PPL or an OSL card and would like to use a “PPL or OSL only” database from within the URI Libraries, please ask a reference librarian for assistance.

In Library Use Only = In Library Use Only

Databases and other electronic services labeled “Library only“ must be searched from a library computer in one of the URI Libraries (Kingston, Providence Campus, or Pell).

These databases are restricted to use within the Libraries for one of three reasons:

  1. They are available through the Libraries’ CD-ROM local area network only, and therefore cannot be accessed remotely.
  2. A password is needed for access, in which case a reference librarian must sign you on.
  3. The Libraries do not have enough “simultaneous user” licenses to offer campus-wide access at this time.

It is our goal to eventually make all databases accessible from users’ offices, dorms, and homes.

Freely Available = All

Databases and other electronic services labeled “All“ may be accessed remotely by anyone connected to the Internet.

The producers of these databases and services have chosen to make them freely available to all users.

The URI Libraries include these services on our website because we feel they are sources of quality information of interest to library users.

If you have further questions about accessing Library databases from off-campus, please contact the Info & Research Help Desk for assistance. Thank you.

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