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Library Services FAQs

Common questions about the use of the library and its services.

Get Online Access Now

There are two primary ways to access full-text journals, books, databases, and Galter Library resources from any location.

Northwestern University VPN (preferred)

Use Native VPN for Feinberg School of Medicine affiliates.

SET UP VPN FOR WINDOWS | MAC


Galter Library Proxy Server

Click "My Galter" at top-right of the Galter Library home page. If you see your name there, you're already signed in.

SIGN IN NOW


Access to electronic resources also requires the use of Multi-factor authentication (MFA) in addition to the methods below. See our FAQ for MFA for additional instructions.

See the Best Practices for Online Access section at the end of this page for more guidance and use cases.

Get the Galter Library proxy button

Are you in the habit of forgetting to sign in to the library website before you begin your search? The Galter Proxy button is the solution for you!

The Galter Proxy Button is a bookmarklet you can drag to your browser toolbar. The Galter Proxy Button reloads a web page through the Galter Library proxy server. If you're at home and not yet signed in to the library website, you can quickly access a library-subscribed article by clicking on the Galter Proxy Button. After clicking on the button you'll be prompted to sign in to the Galter Library website. After signing in, the article will be reloaded through the Galter Library proxy server and you'll be able to read the full text.*

For more information, see our guide which explains how to install the Galter Proxy Button.

*Some users have reported issues using the proxy button/bookmarklet. It's offered as an additional way to access resources but we're unable to guarantee its success in your particular situation or troubleshoot when it does not work for you. If you're signed into VPN, then you usually won't need to use the bookmarklet.

What is Galter Libary's proxy URL?

Occasionally you may be using a product or resource (e.g. Bookends) that asks for the proxy URL of the library so that the resource will work more smoothly.

Galter’s EZProxy URL: https://galter.northwestern.edu/exit?url=
Northwestern University Library’s proxy URL: http://turing.library.northwestern.edu/login?url= 
 
If the product you are using states that any proxy URL must end in %@ or it won’t be recognized, then try: https://galter.northwestern.edu/exit?url=%@ 

We can't support or troubleshoot products we don't license, so this information is provided with that caveat.

Who can use Galter Library's online services and resources?

Full remote access to Galter's resources is available to the following groups:

  • currently-affiliated Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, and residents
  • physicians and staff at NMH
  • Feinberg School of Medicine faculty at Northwestern Medicine (NM) locations* other than NMH

*Feinberg School of Medicine faculty and residents who work at Lurie Children's, Lake Forest Hospital, and other NM locations have online access privileges (i.e. remote access to online resources). Staff and physicians at these locations without an FSM faculty appointment do not.

Interlibrary loan and document delivery services are also available to these groups.

For a complete listing of access privileges, see our Library Access page.

If you are not a member of one of these groups, but are still affiliated with Northwestern University, you may still be able to create an account on our website, but will not have access to resources that are licensed for only Feinberg School of Medicine affiliates. Please use the Northwestern library with which your school is affiliated to get access to services such as remote access and document delivery. If you think you should have access to online services at the Galter Library and you are unable to access or register for our services, please contact Reference Assistance at 312-503-8126.

What about NU Students and Faculty not affiliated with FSM?

NU students and faculty who aren't affiliated with the Feinberg School of Medicine but have an interest in the health sciences are also welcome to create and use Galter library website accounts. We try our best to provide resource access to all NU affiliates, but some may be restricted to Feinberg School of Medicine because of vendor licensing agreements. 

MS in Health Informatics students are welcome to consult Galter librarians for health sciences questions. For other topics or specific resource needs (e.g. Interlibrary loan), refer to information for School of Professional Studies affiliates: Health Informatics or Distance Learning.  NOTE: Schaffner Library on the Chicago is closed until sometime in 2022.

Do alumni have remote access to online library resources?

The Galter Health Sciences Library is unable to provide alumni with remote access to licensed online journals, books or databases to which the library subscribes. Alumni are welcome to visit the library in person. Please see the Alumni Guide for further information.

I'm a nurse/staff member/physician at a Northwestern Medicine clinic. Can I use the online resources?

At this time, we can only provide remote access to online resources to the groups listed above. Nurses and staff at locations other than NMH cannot get online access.

How do I create an account?

Most faculty, staff, residents, fellows, and students affiliated with the Feinberg School of Medicine should be able to sign in with their NetID and use the website as normal.

Any hospital-based users wishing to create a Galter Library online account should register with the librarian at their institution. See the list of affiliated hospital libraries to identify your contact.  The librarian at your institution will help you with your research and information needs as well as validate (or possibly help you obtain) a Northwestern NetID.

Once you have spoken with the librarian at your institution, use your Northwestern NetID and password to sign in to the Galter website.  Your account is created the first time you successfully sign in.

NetID help:

  • The library does not issue or maintain NetIDs and associated passwords.
  • Check to see if you have a NetID by searching in the NU Online Directory.
  • If you already have a NetID, but don't know your NetID password (because it's forgotten or expired), you can try to reset your NetID password online.
  • If the online option does not work for you, you can visit the NUIT Support Kiosk located in the WildCARD office in Abbott Hall. Here you can receive an activation code that you can use to log in to NU Validate and update a forgotten or expired NetID password.
  • If you cannot reset your NetID password online or are unable to visit the NUIT Support Kiosk, contact NUIT at 847-491-HELP.

Best Practices for Online Access

Ideally you could access every journal article or online book with the click of a button, but there’s usually some technical or budgetary reason why that can’t happen. Here are our recommendations for the smoothest access depending on your preferred workflow.

  1. NU VPN: this is really the most reliable option. Log into NU VPN before you start any searching and your connection should mimic an on-campus one. If you are on a publisher site and we subscribe to a journal directly from that publisher, then you should be passed right through to the full-text. However, if we don’t subscribe to that journal through that particular publisher (sometimes we subscribe through aggregators like Ebsco or Ovid) then you will probably be denied access on this site. It doesn’t mean we don’t have access, it just means a direct download from that source isn’t available. You can always search for the journal title on our website to see if there’s another way to get in.
  2. Galter Library website login (proxy): the next most reliable. Click the Sign In option in the top-right corner of the home page or log in when prompted with your NetID. For example, if you click PubMed on our home page and have not yet logged in with your NetID, then you will be prompted to do so. If your name is already showing at the top-right of the Galter Library home page, then you are already signed in.
  3. Galter Library proxy button/bookmarklet: we’ve done some testing and this appears to still work; however we have had reports of it not working for some users which is why we haven't listed it as a primary option for access above. If you are already logged in with your NetID, and you click the bookmarklet in your toolbar while on the website of a journal to which we subscribe, it should either (a) take you to the full-text if you are logged in with your NetID on that particular browser or (b) prompt you to log in with your NetID, then take you to the full-text. If it doesn’t take you to the full-text or prompt you to log in with your NetID, then take you through, then we probably don’t subscribe to the journal through that website. This isn’t necessarily the final word on whether we have it; you should then check/search the library website to see if we get the journal through a different source.

Example scenarios:

  1.  I'm searching on Google or UpToDate and come across an article I want to read. I get to the publisher website. What now?
    • If you are already logged into NU VPN (option 1), which is the best practice, it should take you to the full-text, assuming we get the article through that publisher. If not, see the VPN caveats above.
    • If you are not logged into VPN and you have the proxy bookmarklet installed, clicking it should prompt you for a NetID login. This is really a combination of options 2 and 3 above. The proxy bookmarklet is prompting you to log into the Galter Library website to authenticate you as a NU Feinberg affiliate and then re-routing you back to the publisher website.
       
  2.  I'm in PubMed or another database and come across an article I want to read.
    First, we recommend that you bookmark and use the Galter/NU version of PubMed. This is the one linked from our home page and has the following URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?otool=norwelib  When you get to the PubMed abstract of an article you want to read, there may be a number of full-text options. One of them will likely be the publisher website. If you’re logged into the VPN or use the proxy bookmarklet AND we subscribe through that publisher directly, you will usually get into the full-text using that link.
    If you don’t, try the other link: the purple Find it NM Galter icon. This will take you back to the Galter website and you will be informed if the library has it in full-text and prompted to sign in if we do; if we don’t have it in full-text, you’ll be given the link to request it through interlibrary loan. If you encounter problems at this point, send us a message so we can investigate your account.

    Note: you only see the purple Find it NM Galter icon in PubMed if you started your PubMed session with the URL linked above. If you didn’t – e.g. you did a Google search, came across a PubMed abstract and clicked it – then you will be in generic PubMed and will see publisher full-text links only and not NU ones. In that case, we recommend that you open the PubMed NU version in another browser tab, reload the previous PubMed abstract page, at which point the purple icon should now show. The publisher full-text links *may* work but they only link to one source which we may not subscribe to; the NU link in PubMed links to all possible sources that we can access.
     
  3. I have the DOI (digital object identifier) for an article and want to use that to find and access it
    While a DOI is a permanent, persistent link to an article on a publisher's website, having this is not a guarantee that you can access that article's full-text. If the journal is freely available or open access, then you should have no problem. If it is something we subscribe to AND we get it through the publisher site, then entering the DOI will usually give you access, assuming you are already logged in with VPN or have the proxy bookmarklet installed. Our recommendation: Before you do any DOI searching, log into NU VPN first. If you are logged into VPN and still can't access it, see the alternative options listed in the VPN description above.