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Database Help: Login issues

Find answers to your questions on the library's online resources, including databases.

  To use Thigpen Library's databases

  • you must be a currently enrolled Vol State student or current faculty / staff
  •  you must use the library's "official" links which connect to our subscription and verify that you are an authorized Vol State user

NOTE: You cannot go directly to a database like ProQuest Research Library and use your Vol State user name and password to gain access.

The same Vol State user name and password that logs you into a campus computer, portal, and eLearn gets you access to Thigpen Library databases.

Questions about your NoodleTools account? Go to the NoodleTools guide and find the answer on "My NoodleTools Account. "

Login: library resources

Thigpen Library e-resources (databases) are limited to current Vol State faculty, staff, and students. Users away from a Vol State campus computer must verify that they are affiliated with Vol State. You do this by logging in to the proxy server before going to the database.

Verification is easy when you use the "official" links from Thigpen Library. These "official" links open a login page to verify your Vol State affiliation. On the "Thigpen Library Online Resources" page enter your Vol State network / portal username and password.

Login page window disappears when you enter a valid username* and password.

You do not receive an error message if you enter the wrong information –  the page simply does not close.

Type carefully because entering the incorrect information too many times can temporarily lock your Vol State account.

*Some Vol State resources allow you to use the your complete email as your username – not this one. Only enter the username [the part before the @ sign, jsmith1 NOT]

screen capture webpage "Thigpen Library: login..."

Login issue: link to database

A common login problem is skipping the "official" Thigpen Library link — you need to use our subscription and our link connects you to our subscription to the resource.

Select your database from the A-Z Databases list or use a link from a library research guide.

  • Do not "google" the name of the database.
  • Do not bookmark (save) the database link.

From off-campus you will be prompted to login to the proxy on the "Thigpen Library Online Resources" page. If you do not see this login page and you are using an "official" link then your web browser is probably blocking the page.

  • Use the link "Login to Use Thigpen Library Resources (proxy)" then open the database link, or 
  • Try a different database link on the A-Z list to be prompted for a proxy login. If that logs you in then select the desired database, or
  • Clear the browser cache so are you taken to the "Thigpen Library Online Resources" page when you select your database

Login issue: link to specific article, ebook, or video (permalink)

To go directly to the article, ebook, video, or other resource from a library database the link must begin with the proxy prefix and must be a permalink.


The proxy is how authorized users gain access to the library's subscription resources from off-campus. You are routed through the proxy when you select a database link from our A-Z Database list. You login to the proxy on the "Thigpen Library Online Resources Page."


When you want to save a link to a specific article, ebook, or streaming video look for the permalink (also called document URL or stable URL). These permalinks, not the browser bar link, take you back to the specific resource.

Permalinks need the proxy URL as a prefix to allow easy access to the subscription resource. Many of our subscription resources include this prefix automatically, but some like JSTOR and the TEL resources do not. It is easy to add the proxy prefix.

TIP You can also use this proxy URL to go directly to the proxy login page where you can sign in and then open a saved database permalink to an article, ebook, or database.

Create a Proxied Permalink

When the proxy prefix is missing copy the proxy URL and paste in front of the permalink. Make sure no extra punctuation or spaces are added to the finished URL.

An LTI permalink is an exception to the rule. The proxy prefix is not required since this link should only be used in eLearn.

A link saved from the browser's address bar may not work even when you are logged in. These links are temporary and the database does not recognize the link. Adding the proxy prefix may not work for these links. Look for a document ID or accession number in the link and search for this number in the database.

For Faculty - Proxied Permalink in eLearn

Adding a proxied permalink with the tool in the "Create a File" area may encode certain characters and render the URL useless. You can insert the link in your content with HTML editor instead of using the tool. Or you can use a modified proxy prefix ( You will have to modify any proxied URLs copied from a database by adding the letter q between the ? and url=

Browser error messages

The err_empyty_response message can occur when you are trying to access a website using the Chrome browser. The message means that data is not being sent/transmitted.

 Suggested actions to fix the issue and connect with the website:

  • Check your network and/or internet connection – verify that you are connected to the Internet and that the connection is working.
  • Clear your browser's cache, cookies and temporary files.
  • Reset your network settings. This short YouTube video How to Fix This Page Isn't Working ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE in Chrome
  • Try using another browser. Since this error is specific to Chrome, try using Firefox. NOTE: All internet browsers are free to download.

In some instances the antivirus software is the culprit not Chrome.

Login issue: browser cache

Browser caches are designed to make your web pages load faster, but the cache can prevent you from reaching the correct page when using secure resources like library databases.

There are two options to clear browser cache problems. One option is to clear the entire cache for the browser. Another option is to bypass the cache with a hard refresh. A hard refresh clears the cache for a specific page, forcing it to load the most recent version.

Hard Refresh for web browsers on a PC: 

Chrome:  CTRL + Reload button or CTRL F5

Firefox: CTRL + R  or  F5

IE / EDGE :  CTRL + Refresh  button or CTRL F5

Login options for Pioneer Search

There are two login options in Pioneer Search - one is obvious and one is slightly hidden. Each option serves a different purpose. Use your Vol State username and password for both logins.

WARNING: Although the same username / password is used for both logins the verification process occurs on different servers. Use the full-text available or online access link for direct access to an online resource.

Library Account

"Sign in" logs you into your library account where you can view your checked out library materials and renew materials online. When signed in you can save searches, keep favorites, and email search results.

There are two "Sign in" locations: one is on the search results page and the other is a link on the main navigation bar. Selecting Sign in from either link logs you into your library account. You cannot access links to database articles with this sign-in.

Contact circulation for help renewing a book or other questions about your library account.

Access Online Resource

A different login option allows you to view and use an online article, ebook, or streaming video — click the "Full-text available" or "online access" link.

When the resource is available in more than one database select the database title to view the resource.

If you are off-campus you will be directed to the proxy login for verification. This is the same process used when you select a database to search from our A-Z Database list.

Login: college resources

Call the IT help desk (615) 230-3302 if you have login issues with eLearn, student email, portal, Zoom, or Office 365,.

College resources use different login and authentication methods than those used by the library. For resources like Zoom @ VolState or Office 365 you may see an Authentication Required pop-up box or a Volstate Federation Service login screen. There may be variations in the pop-up windows but you use your network / portal User Name and Password to login to Vol State resources.

These types of logins are not used for library resources.

web browser pop-up "Authentication Required"

web browser pop-up "Volstate Federation Service"

Always use "official" links from Vol State sites to avoid scams or bogus websites that steal your login credentials..

Is the database working?

On occasion a database is down for maintenance or there are issues that impact using a feature of a database. These outages and issues cannot be controlled  the library or our IT department. Here are links to a few vendor websites showing the status of their databases and services.