Database Help Page (for Borrowers with a "P" Card)

Access to the Databases

Licensing agreements for these databases require that the New York State Library limit access to:

  • current employees of the State Library,
  • our registered borrowers, and
  • onsite researchers.

We use a process called IP authentication to restrict access to eligible users. This means that users must access these databases either from onsite, using the Library's computers, or remotely, through the Library's proxy server. The proxy server authenticates a user ID and password (in this case, a State Library borrower's number and PIN) and, if the user ID and password provided are valid, connects the borrower to the appropriate database provider.

Troubleshooting Specific Databases

We subscribe to many databases, from a variety of different vendors. We try to keep up with any changes made, but at times you may have trouble accessing some databases.

We list any known problems with specific databases below, followed by some general areas to consider when troubleshooting. If you encounter a problem not described here, please let us know about it by completing our brief online form. Please include any error messages you may have received.

America's Newspapers 

  • Personal Logins: In order to create an alert or log in to your personal account in America's Newspapers, you must log in from the main Newsbank page (rather than the America's Newspapers page).  The Login button on the America's Newspapers page does not work when you are accessing the database remotely.

    Once Americas Newspapers opens, click on "Other NewsBank Products" in the upper right corner. You will see links to both the Archive of Americana (America's Historical Newspapers) and New York News Sources. Click on the Log In button on the right hand side in the blue sidebar labeled Personal Accounts. Once you have created an account and/or logged in, you can do a search and set up alerts. (September 2010)


  • MyEBSCOhost: When you are using features available through My EBSCOhost (such as alerts), you will be asked to login with your "User Name" and "Password." This login page is on the EBSCOhost site. The user name and password were set by you when you set up your "My EBSCOhost" account. (They are not the same as your NYSL borrower's card number and password.) If you cannot remember them, click on the link for "I forgot my user name and password" on the "Sign in to My EBSCOhost" page at EBSCO.
  • "System Error has Occurred" message: Clear your browser's cache and cookies. With newer versions of Firefox, you may have to do this twice. (August 2012)

FirstSearch WorldCat (OCLC)

  • E-mail: When e-mailing records, you need to have the holdings record up on screen. If you just e-mail "detailed record," the e-mail will not include the holdings. (July 2010)

HeritageQuest Online:

  • Printing Census Page Images: If you'd like to print a copy of the census image you are viewing online, you can use the standard Print button in your Internet browser. However, you may obtain better results by selecting sections of the image and printing from within Adobe Acrobat Reader (Version 5 or higher). For information on how to do this, including how to print a section of the census image or how to make it larger and more readable on paper, please see HeritageQuest Online's What's New pageexternal link (scroll down to "Getting Started").

New York Times - Historical:

  • Opening PDF files of articles in Firefox: Some users have reported trouble opening PDFs in Firefox. Per the vendor, ProQuest, the PDF issue is typically caused from one of two things:
    • the adobe reader plug-in is not being updated properly, or
    • FireFox is out of date in comparison to the plug-in being used.

    As a general recommendation ProQuest suggests:
    • visiting the Mozilla siteexternal link to download the latest Adobe Reader plug-in for FireFox, and
    • if possible, upgrading your FireFox browser to a more recent version.

    More information on how to re-install and adjust your plug-ins within FireFoxexternal link. (March 2011)

General Troubleshooting

To use these databases, you must:

  • be a permanent New York State agency employee, a legislative employee, or an otherwise eligible borrower;
  • have a Library borrower's card issued by the New York State Library, with a card number that begins with "P"; and
  • know your card number (it's on the back of your borrower's card) and PIN.

If you meet these criteria, but have been unable to access our remote databases, here are some possible problems:

Typos. You may have mistyped your borrower's card number or PIN. Please try again.

Forgot Your Borrower's card number or your PIN? If you are not sure that you are using the correct borrower's number or PIN, contact the Library, and we will look up your borrower's card number and/or PIN number for you. Please use the Borrower's Card Number/PIN Request Online Form or contact the Reference Desk by phone at (518) 474-5355.

No longer eligible. If you have a borrower's card, but have not used or renewed it in some time, your card may have lapsed. Please call the Circulation Desk at (518) 473-7895 to check on your status.

Firewalls. If you are accessing our Web site from behind a firewall, you may not be able to use our proxy server. You can check with your firewall administrator to see if your firewall is preventing access

Other Proxies. If you have another proxy (e.g., in order to use college or university resources) set up on your browser, it may interfere with use of our proxy service.

Cookies. If you currently have the "cookies" option disabled in your browser, you will have to enable it in order to access the subscription databases through our proxy server. Once you have been validated by this system, a cookie is sent to your browser as an ongoing indication of your authorization to access these databases. It will only need to be set once during login. (Although as you access specific databases, they may also use cookies. Your ability to use those databases may depend on whether or not you allow those cookies to be set.)

Last Updated: October 25, 2018