By Katherine Steiner
Kat here – Information Resources trainee at the Law Bod. Since starting work here last September, I have had lots of chances to delve into some of the weird and wonderful resources the Bodleian Law Library and the Bodleian Libraries generally have to offer. Despite doing my undergraduate degree here in Oxford, there were lots of new things to me. So when it came to thinking of things to blog about, I decided that, if they were new to me, chances are they would be new to plenty of our readers! I came up with quite a long list of things, but today I’ve picked password-protected legal databases, and how to get at them.
Password-protected legal databases
Law students and readers, I’m sure, are quite familiar with using Westlaw, LexisLibrary, HeinOnline and others to look at legislation, law reports and journals online. They probably get to them by a variety of routes. Personally, I like to use OxLip+, search for ‘Westlaw’, and click on the link to Westlaw UK. Then I’ll need to sign in with my Oxford Single-Sign-On (SSO). Alternatively, I can just go straight to Westlaw UK, mouse-over the ‘Log in to your service’ button in the top right, choose ‘Organisation Name’, type in Oxford, and login from there, still with my SSO. It’s up to you, and it’s the same for LexisLibrary. Simple. You can also go via the Law Bod’s own list of databases, which is a great page to bookmark if you use a lot of databases for your work. By the way, if you’re not sure about your Oxford Single-Sign-On, it’s what you need to put into any screen that looks like this: If you’re a member of a college, or have been in the past, the username often looks something like ball1234 or quee4567 (for Balliol and Queen’s).
Not everyone has an Oxford Single-Sign-On, and if you don’t, you won’t have access to all of our electronic resources, unfortunately. However, many of them are free anyway, and can be found on OxLip+ as well, so don’t despair! Subject librarians spend lots of time compiling lists of e-resources by subject for OxLip+, so it’s definitely worth having a look. You can watch out for those which always require Single-Sign-On because they have the little flag next to them. On the Law Bod website list of databases, they have [OSS] in square brackets next to them.
However, some online resources don’t require your Oxford Single-Sign-On, they require another password. In law, examples of these are Manupatra (legal database of Indian law), All South African Law Reports (via LexisNexis but needing a different password), De Jure (Italian language website containing cases and journals), Lextenso (French language website with journals and legislation), Funmi Quadri Online (Nigerian Supreme Court reports) and LawNet (the Singapore Academy of Law, which contains Indian Supreme court cases from 1969 onwards). All of these require their own special passwords.
To find out these mysterious passwords, you need to navigate your way to Weblearn and, naturally, log in. Luckily, to do that, you just need your Oxford Single-Sign-On, so that’s easy. Then you can either follow this link to the correct page, or navigate it by selecting from the left-hand navigation column: ASUC (Academic Services and University Collections), then Libraries and Information Resources, then E-resources, and there you are! Out of your difficulty at once. You can tell which databases need a special password on OxLip+, because they have a little key by them. And if you’re looking on the Law Bod website’s list, they have [P.WORD] next to their name.
A final note – if you’re on a university network, you’ll find that you won’t have to sign in at all to a lot of our resources. It’s only special ones like LexisNexis and Westlaw which require it regardless of where you are. If you’re not on an Oxford University internet network, for example if you aren’t living in university or college accommodation for any reason, then you will always need your SSO to get access.
If you are still having problems with an online resource and you’re not on an Oxford network (for example, where the website keeps asking you to log in when you already have), but you are a member of the university, you might want to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This is also useful when you go home for the holidays and you encounter an Oxford website which says (Oxonly). It lets you tell websites that you are affiliated with Oxford. To get it, follow the link and download the software to your computer, following It Services’ instructions. You will also need to register for a Remote Access Account if you don’t already have one (you will already have this if you use the Eduroam wireless network).
You shouldn’t really need to use your VPN to access library resources, even if you’re not on the Oxford network – just using your SSO should work. However, as a last ditch attempt to get something working, it’s worth a try. Personally, I’ve used it for Cambridge Companions Online, where I’ve had this problem.
Hopefully this post has clarified how to get to our various legal databases on online resources! Remember that, if you’re still having problems, you can always ask a member of library staff (if you’re in a library), or consider emailing us at email@example.com if you’re elsewhere within normal working hours.