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Zotero Proxy Issue Discovered

Hi all,

Be careful, Zotero users: the Zotero add-on likes to store proxy URLs to help off-campus users access library resources without going through the library's website (http://www.zotero.org/support/proxies). By storing the proxy URL, an off-campus user only has to go through library channels once (in theory).

The critical problem with this occurs when we update our proxy URLs. No matter how you get to that resource, Zotero will automatically re-write your URL to the stored proxy url. So unless you go into the Zotero add-on's proxy url settings and update or delete the old url, you'll be redirected to a link that is most likely dead.

The SciEng Reference Desk had a number of resources that were mysteriously inaccessible (Ebsco, Ovid, and Engineering Village resources) or behaving strangely until we discovered that Zotero was the culprit.

The solution: you can disable Zotero, but better yet, you can tell Zotero not to automatically store proxy urls. If you're in Firefox, go to Tools > Add-ons. Click on Extensions (if it's not showing already), then scroll down to Zotero. This is how you get into Zotero Options. In Options, click on the Proxies tab. Then uncheck "Automatically remember proxied resources." At this stage, you might want to also delete any stored proxy urls. Restart Firefox.

Thanks to Michael Winters, Shane Nackerud and Michael Johnson for helping to uncover this issue.

Charlie Heinz
Science/Engineering Ref
342 WaLib
117 Pleasant St S E
Minneapolis, MN 55455


but Charlie - how often do you guys change your proxy settings? Shouldn't this be a "once every 5 years event"? And once people actually made it here or to the Ref Desk- wouldn't it make more sense to explain to them how to actually fix this - which would in the best case entail a minimal modification to the proxy settings in Zotero and at worst just deleting the prior entry.

This takes less time than even once not being able to access an article that you found e.g. on google scholar because you didn't go through the library (so you copy the title of the article, go to EBSCO through the library, search for it, then open it...

I really think you're doing your users a disservice here.

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