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Library Orientation for Online Students

An introduction to using the resources and services provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Why do I need a login?

Once you start searching for sources in one of our databases or on the library's home page, you'll quickly notice that you're asked for your WFU login if you're off campus. Why is that?

Well, for starters, our subscriptions to online databases, journals, streaming videos, and ebooks cost the university a LOT of money--we're talking millions of dollars a year. Without access to these resources, our students couldn't do high-level research and our faculty wouldn't have access to the newest developments in their field. So our subscriptions are super important, and it's your privilege to make use of them during your time as a student!

As part of our agreements with our content providers, we must restrict access to just those folks affiliated with WFU. That's why you need to login every time you try to access one of our databases from home. But there's a better, more reliable way to access this content: through the university's Virtual Private Network (VPN).

What is VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a private computer network that you can connect to from a public network, like from your home or a coffee shop. When you're logged into the VPN, your computer will behave as though you are physically on the Wake Forest University campus, giving you access to information and resources that are restricted to only the Wake Forest University community.

Getting and Using VPN

In order to search the library databases, you will need to download the VPN software. To learn more about this software and how to use it, view the VPN page on the Information Systems Service Portal. In a nutshell, connecting to our Virtual Private Network makes your computer behave as though it was on campus so you will have access to all of our subscription resources, such as academic journals and streaming videos.

Once you're ready to install VPN on your computer, go to the VPN install page. This page contains step-by-step directions for both PC and Mac users. Once installed, you will launch the VPN app (called Cisco AnyConnect), sign in, and then use your internet browser as you would normally. 

VPN is the safest way to do your searching and will make using library resources very easy. However, there are some things you can do without VPN. You can search the library catalog to see what is listed without running VPN; however, to read an ebook, you will want to run it. You can access some databases using your ID and password, but it will be easier to search several different databases if you are logged in using VPN.

Need Help with the VPN?

For technical help, please contact the Information Systems Help Desk at:

336-758-HELP (4357) or help@wfu.edu.


For library help, please contact the Reference Desk at:

336-758-5475 or email us.

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