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OhioLINK Authentication Service

Easy access to OhioLINK Research Databases from a private Internet Service Provider and from off-campus locations.

Overview of the Service

1. How does it work?

For complete instructions on setting up OhioLINK Authentication, go to the "How It Works" page.

When you try to connect to an OhioLINK restricted resource from a NON-KENT network address (and are NOT setup to use the VPN), you will automatically be challenged by the OhioLINK Authentication System. You are asked to select your institution and then to enter your Name and Social Security Number. By supplying this information, you will be connected to the resource of your choice.

The cookie that the OhioLINK Authentication System sends to your browser is currently set to time out after two hours. To go beyond this two-hour limit, you just have to authenticate again. Also, the cookie will expire when you turn off your browser, so you must authenticate again at the beginning of each session.

2. What is this service?

The OhioLINK Authentication System allows you to connect to OhioLINK resources from a non-Kent network address. This is a separate system from the Kent State VPN. It has the same authentication objective, but works differently. The OhioLINK system uses your KentLINK patron record to authenticate you for access to the OhioLINK research databases and electronic journals.

This service is available to assist University users who connect via a private Internet Service Provider, such as America Online or EarthLink, and need to access OhioLINK research databases and electronic full-text journals.

3. What do I need to take advantage of this service?

To take advantage of the OhioLINK Authentication System:

  • You need a cookie-enabled browser.
  • You must be included in the KentLINK patron database as a valid user.
  • You must be a valid KentLINK user type: student, faculty, or staff.

4. What if I'm an AOL user?

The AOL BROWSER does NOT work with the OhioLINK Authentication System. The AOL SERVICE DOES support your use of Firefox or Internet Explorer, and these browsers DO work with the OhioLINK Authentication System.  AOL users should download and install the current version of Firefox or Internet Explorer (IE). 

5. How can I see the screens on campus that I will see when I get home?

Look at the "How It Works" page for a screen-by-screen review of the process you follow to get authenticated.

6. How do I know which authentication system to use -- the OhioLINK Authentication System or the Kent State University VPN?

OhioLINK Authentication System: Pros and Cons

  • Pro: easy, needs no browser configuration.
  • Pro: provides access to all databases and journals maintained on computers at OhioLINK.
  • Con: does not provide access to resources licensed specifically to Kent State University Libraries.

Kent State University VPN: Pros and Cons

  • Pro: provides access to the most complete set of resources--ALL OhioLINK resources and ALL Kent State Library resources and other University resources.
  • Pro: requires a simple one-time installation of the VPN client.
  • Con: You have to login to the VPN each time you want to do some research.

7. Is there a complete list of which databases and resources are available via this service?

For the complete list of which OhioLINK Research Databases are available via the OhioLINK Authentication Service, go to the OhioLINK Research Databases page and sort the databases by Subject, Type or Name. Databases with the OhioLINK icon are available only to OhioLINK members and require authentication.

8. What if I need other Research Databases and Full-Text Journals on the Web that are licensed only by the Kent State University Libraries and are NOT accessible via the OhioLINK Authentication Service?

In this case, you should use the Kent State VPN to connect to this full range of resources via your private Internet Service Provider and/or from an off-campus location.

9. Whom do I call for help with dial-in support and getting connected?

Call the University Help Desk at 330-672-HELP(4357), or contact them at

10. Whom do I call for help using KentLINK and OhioLINK resources?

Call the Library Reference Desk at 330-672-3150, or e-mail them at, or contact them at Ask a Librarian.