Databases FAQ

How do I access the Library’s databases?

To access databases, you will need to enter your library card barcode number and sometimes your password too. The barcode number is found on the back of your library card.  Please enter all 14 digits with no spaces. Your password is case sensitive so be careful and check if your CAPS LOCK is on. You can change your password under the My Account page.

How do I know which database to use?

Use the subject guide to find the closest category to your needs and read the descriptions to decide which resource will work best for you. When in doubt, just ask a librarian.


I can’t find a database that I used to access – what do I do?

Our collection of online resources changes based on our own subscriptions as well as those offered through other funding sources. If you can no longer find a collection that you used you can always ask a librarian about what is available. Some of our Gale databases are no longer listed separately due to lower usage, but you can still access them. Choose any other Gale database and from the Tools drop down menu at the top of the page select “Change Databases” to be taken to a full list of the entire Gale collection.

I don’t have a password, how can I get access to these sites?

The library has purchased subscriptions to these databases. In order to ensure that only our library users are allowed access to these sites, the library requires you to sign in. You can obtain your password in person at Borrower Services. Once you have a password, you can change it to your preferred one in the catalogue under My Account. Some databases have other passwords set up for access. You can find these in the database brochure at the library or by asking a librarian.

What do I do if a database is denying me access?

If the database is denying access, you may receive one of the following messages:

  • A page asking you for a user name and password; or
  • A page telling you that you must reach this page from a “referring web site”.

If you receive either of these messages, or are denied access to the database, please try the following:

  1. Make sure your Cookies are enabled.  On the Internet Explorer 7 or 8 menu bar at the top of your screen, select Tools –> Internet Options.  Click on the “Privacy” tab.  You can either use the slider to select “medium” or “medium low” privacy, click the “advanced” button and override automatic cookie handling, or click the “edit” button and add the database addresses (URLS) to override the settings for individual sites.  For Firefox users, select Tools from the menu bar, then Options. Select the Privacy tab and click the checkboxes next to Accept cookies from site and Accept third party cookies.
  2. Adjust or disable your anti-virus or firewall software.  Fire walls and anti-virus software can interfere with the authentication process needed to allow access to the library databases.  You may need to temporarily disable the software in order to access.  Remember to re-enable it after you are done. Some browser addons, like No Script or Ad Block, may also need to be adjusted to allow for access.
  3. Access the database through the Library’s web page.  Do not bookmark database pages as you will need to log in for each searching session.
  4. Download Adobe Acrobat reader.  This program is required to view some documents in EBSCO, Pages of the Past, and eBooks.  Click here to download it for free. Mac Users may want to try Shubert|it
  5. Try again later.  Some databases only allow user at a time, and you may have to wait for the other user to finish before you can access the same database.

Also, some other things to remember:

  • Some databases require using a user name and password available in our database brochure or by calling the library.
  • eBooks on EBSCOhost requires you to set up a username and password with them in addition to using your library card number.
  • Some databases can only be accessed in the Library.
  • Some features may not work well with older browser versions.
  • For any other problems, please contact the library.


Where can I find help on conducting research?

Try Worldbook – Info Finder which includes sections on how to choose a topic, write a thesis statement, cite materials used, etc. Most databases will provide a citation for the articles you find in a variety of formats, including APA or MLA. Each database has its own help menus to guide you through how to best use their product. These links are generally found in the header at the top of the page.

I’m having trouble viewing the videos, what do I do?

Check that you have the proper software installed on your computer. These videos are supplied by a variety of vendors who have used different programs to display their videos. Some common ones are: Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media Player. If you use any pop up blockers or No Script, you may need to click an allow prompt to see the video. Please let us know if you continue having difficulties.


I’m not finding what I need, what should I do?

Try the help menus within the database you are searching for tips on how to navigate, narrow your search or find various types of material. If available, view the video or look at the user guide for hints. You can always contact the library to speak with a librarian for information on how to use our eResources. Call us at 905-775-3328, ext. 6109.


I need help keeping track of all the resources I’ve found for a large research project – what should I do?

You may want to look at a free online tool called Zotero that helps to organize your citations. You can also add books and print materials to your collection.