Technical Troubleshooting Tips

Procedures for handling Technical Problems that are reported:

Step 1. Attempt to recreate the patron's problem

  • Try to recreate problem using a computer that emulates off-campus access.
    • If you can create the problem, thank the patron for reporting it, and refer it to the appropriate unit for resolution.
      • If a link in MNCAT is broken, refer to Fixit.
      • If it is a holdings or subscription issue, refer to Serials.
      • EZ Proxy errors should be assigned to Autosys.
      • Broken University Libraries web links should be assigned to Autosys
    • If you cannot recreate the problem, ask for the path the patron is using, and try to connect the same way.
      • If you can recreate the problem, refer the problem to the appropriate unit (see above).
      • If you cannot recreate the problem, continue troubleshooting.

Step 2. Check the patron's online library access rights

  • Check University of Minnesota directory and/or X.500 database for the patron's library access rights. Because many users hold multiple X.500 accounts, it is good practice to search for records using the common name field, rather than by Internet ID.

While this can seem time-consuming and unnecessary, it may reveal the source of the problem.

    • If the patron has access rights, continue troubleshooting.
      • Patron must have "Twin Cities, General" in the Library Access field in order to use licensed resources, request interlibrary loan, Your Account, etc.
    • If the patron is not currently student, staff or faculty, explain online library access privileges.

Step 3. Troubleshoot common Internet connection and software issues

  • How is the patron connecting to the Internet (i.e. wireless, VPN, ethernet, dial up)?
    • If the patron is using VPN, ask them to disconnect and reconnect via another method.
  • Ask whether patron is connecting from on- or off-campus?
  • Has the patron tried:
    • Switching to another browser?
    • Using another computer?
    • Clearing the browser's cache?
    • Enabling the browser's pop-ups and/or javascript (if disabled)?
  • You may want to try to mimic the patron's setup if possible.

If the patron is using Explorer, use Explorer rather than Netscape. If the patron is connecting through an ISP then it is regarded as a non-U domain. You should then try to simulate a non-U IP access using the designated computers in your area with this set-up. 

  • You may also want to try to replicate the patron's problem.
    See if you can get the same error message. Before saying that the problem could be related to cookies, for instance, turn off your own cookies and see whether you get the same error message.
  • Use the Tech Tip Tables of various technical problems to help diagnose and guide you through dealing with specific technical problems or questions.

Technical Troubleshooting response templates:
Opener: I'm sorry you are having a problem trying to access [xxx] this [morning/afternoon/etc.]. In order to address your question, I need to ask you some problem-solving questions about [the resource/service] you are having trouble with.

Closer: Thanks for your patience while we work through this. As soon as we hear back from you, we will work quickly to resolve this problem. We really do care about any problems our users encounter when trying to find information--we want our systems to work for you.
[Staff Name]
University of Minnesota Libraries

E-Resource Referral Guidelines:

 If the question deals with:

Subscription status:
e.g., we have a license with Ingenta, why isn't this journal available...
(check Aleph first) assign the question to Serials

FindIt/SFX Problems:

  • Assign the question to Autosys

IP Registration:

  • Assign the question to Autosys

EZProxy Error Messages (in MNCAT or LUMINA)

  • Assign the question to Autosys

Licensing status

  • Assign the question to Jim Stemper


  • Assign to Fixit 

E-Reserves Access Problems

  • Assign to Reserves/EReserves

Leave a comment


Create your own post...

Recent Entries

SFX troubleshooting: Blank Screen when clicking on "Full-Text" link
Transparentpixel.png SFX error While using the journal A-Z list (SFX) you may come across a problem in which a blank window…
Reminder: Enter all Email & Chat Questions in DeskTracker
This is a reminder to use DeskTracker as the place to record all of the time you spend working on…
EBSCO E-Book Problems
Recently users have contacted us regarding problems, ranging from "locked out" messages to inability to download content, and more from…

Enter your email for updates

Powered by MT-Notifier