FAQ

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General questions about the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf

1) What is available in the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?
2) What hosting options are available for the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?
3) Which browsers will the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf run on?
4) What do I need for self-hosting?
5) How will you deliver the content to me?
6) What authentication methods are available?
7) Are there MARC Records available?
8) How can I view or edit the MARC Records you provided?


1) What is available in the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf is a collection of fully searchable e-reference titles created from Oxford's award-winning scholarly print references. More details, including special features, pricing, and full title listings, are available from Oxford University Press.

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2) What hosting options are available for the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

You can have Oxford manage the content for a small annual maintenance fee, or you can choose to self-host within your library's own framework.

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3) Which browsers will the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf run on?

If you have chosen to use Oxford's hosting service, the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf is designed to display and function correctly on the following browsers:

Pages will also display reliably on the following browsers:

The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf will display reliably at 800x600, though we recommend 1024x768 as the optimum screen resolution.

If you have chosen to self-host, the files that we will provide you with will display on any browser, on any platform. Adding full search functionality and display options is entirely under your control.

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4) What do I need for self-hosting?

The minimum requirements for self-hosting are: a web server with a high-speed connection, a method of authentication, and a site to deliver the content to your users' desktops and laptops. We will supply you with the content of the title you have purchased; however, the adding of full search functionality and sophisticated display options to your site is entirely under your control. Please note: if you are considering this option and you are not familiar with hosting web sites, you will need to seek help and advice from someone who is fully experienced in the methods and standards of web hosting before making your final decision.

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5) How will you deliver the content to me?

If you have chosen Oxford's hosting service, our customer service department will contact you with the details of the URL of each Oxford Digital Reference Shelf title you have purchased, together with an administrator user name and password for your Oxford Digital Reference Shelf account. We will also provide you with an FTP password so that you can download an XML file and DTD of each file you have purchased for your archive records.

If you have chosen to self-host we will provide you with an FTP password so that you can download an XML file and DTD of each title you have purchased.

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6) What authentication methods are available?

If you have chosen Oxford's hosting service, a flexible range of authentication methods is available. You can choose which method works best for you: authentication by IP address, password, referring URL, or library card.

If you have chosen to self-host you will need to restrict access to members of your institution by allowing access from a specified IP address range, by password, or both.

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7) Are there MARC Records available?

Marc21 records are provided for all Oxford Digital Reference Shelf titles at no extra cost. These are available to download:

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8) How can I view or edit the MARC Records you provided?

To view or edit our Marc records you will need software which supports MARC21 format, such as MarcEdit, which is free to download at http://oregonstate.edu/~reeset/marcedit/html/.

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OpenURL questions for library administrators

1) Is the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf OpenURL compliant?
2) What is the service identifier (sid) for OpenURL from the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?
3) What information should I register for OpenURL?
4) When will I be able to specify OpenURL query parameters in XML format?
5) If a reference contains both an author and an editor, how is ODRS handling this?
6) How are spaces in names and article, journals, and book titles, being handled by ODRS?
7) How is Oxford Digital Reference Shelf handling accented characters in OpenURLs?
8) Is ODRS handling any DOI (digital object identifier) information in its OpenURL links?
9) Are OUP's products OpenURL targets or referring sources?
10) Can I add my library's OpenURL resolver logo to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?


1) Is the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf OpenURL compliant?

If you have chosen Oxford's hosting service, all titles in the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf are compliant with version 0.1 of the OpenURL specification. To enable this feature in your institution, please access your account information in Subscriber Services. Please note that in order to do this, your institution will need to have an OpenURL resolver.

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2) What is the service identifier (sid) for OpenURL from the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

The service identifier (sid) is OUP:ODRS.

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3) What information should I register for OpenURL?

You should register the following information for OpenURL in Subscriber Services:

  1. the resolver address (e.g. http://resolver.library.edu);
  2. the version of the OpenURL standard your resolver requests; this will be one of:
    • 0.1
    • 1.0
    Note that ORO currently supports only version 0.1 of the standard; 1.0 should not be selected;
  3. the format in which OpenURL query parameters should be sent to the resolver: this will be one of:
    • key-value pairs (KEV)
    • XML
    Note that ORO currently provides OpenURL query parameters in KEV format: XML should not be selected.

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4) When will I be able to specify OpenURL query parameters in XML format?

Query parameters in XML format will be enabled when ODRS supports version 1.0 of the OpenURL standard.

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5) If a reference contains both an author and an editor, how is ODRS handling this?

If a reference contains both an author and an editor (for instance, an author of a book chapter alongside the editor of the overall work), ODRS is sending the name of the editor in preference to the author. This is on the principle that the work will be catalogued according to the editor if one is present.

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6) How are spaces in names and article, journal, and book title being handled by ODRS?

ODRS is substituting the plus character ‘+’ for spaces in OpenURL links.

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7) How are accented characters being handled by ODRS?

The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf is using ‘flattened’ forms of accented characters in its OpenURLs: these in most cases are the characters concerned minus their accents, so, for example, ‘é’ becomes ‘e’. We do this to provide the simplest solution for resolvers interpreting these characters and interfacing with other systems (e.g. library catalogues).

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8) Is ODRS handling any DOI (digital object identifier) information in its OpenURL links?

ODRS is not currently handling any DOIs in its OpenURL links. We may incorporate these into our OpenURLs at some stage in the future.

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9) Are OUP's products OpenURL targets or referring sources?

OUP's online products are currently only referring sources. for example pre purchase inspection

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10) Can I add my library's OpenURL resolver logo to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

If you have chosen Oxford's hosting service, then you can add your library's OpenURL resolver logo via your account administration area in Subscriber Services.

Please note that your OpenURL resolver logo should be a maximum size of 19 pixels high x 55 pixels wide.

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Access questions for administrators using Oxford's hosting service

1) I can't access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf
2) I'm being bounced back to a blank log-in screen
3) Do you offer library card access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?
4) Our institution connects to the internet using NAT, can we access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?
5) Users with off-site access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf
6) What is your policy on cookies?
7) Questions about proxy servers
8) Questions relating to IP addresses
9) Questions about passwords


1) I can't access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf

First of all, please check that you have sent us your licence agreement. We cannot give you access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf until we have received and checked your signed license agreement.

a) It is possible that some of your registration details are incorrect on our database.

If the IP address/es registered against your account, or the user name and password which your patrons use to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf are incorrect in our customer database you will not be able to access the site.

If you know your administrator user name and password, you can check your account details from the Administrator area

Once you have checked whether your IP address details are correct, please use the Contact us form, to say whether:

b) Are you seeing any error messages when you try to log in to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

Error messages appear in the log in box on the home page. These give some suggestions about why you may not be able to access the site. They may direct you to either your network administrator or to the Contact us page.

c) Could your account be on hold?

Occasionally an account is put on hold if we have not received your payment, although we would usually have been in touch with you about this. Do contact us for more information about this.

d) It may be that your browser is not configured to accept cookies.

Cookies are required by users of the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf in order to record usage so that administrators can track title activity. If you see the following error message when you try to log in to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf site, then you need to enable cookies and try again:

"Error 407 - Cookies required. Please enable them then click here to try again"

To configure your browser to accept cookies:

This problem may also occur if you are behind a firewall, in which case you should contact your technical department or Internet Service Provider.

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2) After I enter my username/password and click on "log in" and then try to search or use the index, I'm being bounced back to a blank log-in screen

It is possible that you need to alter your cache settings:

Netscape 6: Select Edit from the Netscape menu bar, and then choose, Preferences, Advanced, Cache, and select "every time I view the page".

In Internet Explorer: IE5 Select Tools: Internet Options on the menu bar, on the General tab select the Settings button and select "every visit to the page"; Other Select View from the menu bar in Internet Explorer, and then choose Internet Options, General. and then Settings, and under "check for newer versions of stored pages" just select "every visit to the page".

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3) Do you offer library card access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

Librarians or account administrators have the option to allow their users to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf using their library card.

Please contact us if you would like to offer library card access to your users.

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4) Our institution connects to the internet using NAT, can we access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

Our access control software will work fine with sites firewalled using NAT. In order to give you access, we just need to know which IP address ranges that the NAT software is masquerading as. Please contact us if you would like to do this.

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5) Users with off-site access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf.

Users who access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf from offsite need to access the site with a user name and password, even if your institution has IP access. Please contact us if you would like us to set up a user name and password for someone to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf offsite.

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6) What is your policy on cookies?

Cookies are required by users of the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf in order to record usage so that administrators can track title activity. The default policy will be to use cookies for authentication. However, users of the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf may choose to disable cookies and will still be able to use the service, but usage statistics related to user sessions will not be available.

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7) Questions about proxy servers
a) Will our proxy server IP address(es) be enough to allow access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

Yes. However, if you are accessing the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf through a proxy server then you need to give us the IP address of the proxy server in order for you to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf site.

b) I've registered my proxy server IP address(es), but I can't access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf.

If you see the user name and password boxes when you access your ODRS title then the IP address of your proxy server is not being recognised by the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf site. If this is the case, please contact us, giving us details of the problem.

c) After previously successful IP-authenticated access via a proxy server, why am I now being requested to sign in with a user name and password?

If there is no obvious technical solution to the problem, please contact your Internet service provider (ISP) to check whether they have changed their configuration in a way that might hinder your IP-authenticated access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf site.

d) I wish to enable off-campus access via a proxy server.

Off-campus access is typically provided via a Remote Access Server (RAS). Ask your librarian or administrator whether there is a proxy server available for this purpose. If there is, enter its IP address into the Proxies section of your browser's preferences, generally located in the Proxy or Connection menu tabs. (In Internet Explorer, this is located in the Tools / Internet Options/ Connections Tab / LAN settings, the second section of which deals with proxies. In Netscape, it is located under Edit / Preferences / Advanced).

You will need a server at your end that is specific to one of the IP addresses you supplied to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf. The degree to which the security of the server is configured is at the discretion of your institution - it just needs to be able to authenticate the end user for access to the Oxford Digitgal Reference Shelf.

e) We use EZproxy for off-campus access to the Oxford Reference Online, but users are being requested to sign in with a user name and password despite the fact that we can access other Oxford Online products via EZproxy.

Caching problems are the most likely cause of the sign in page being presented to remote users. Please ensure that users clear their browser cache before connecting to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf. To do this:

Please also ensure that users are connecting to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf via the correct URL.

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8) Questions relating to IP addresses
a) I've tried to set up IP-authenticated access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf without success.

If, for any reason, you are unable to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf by IP address authentication, referring URL access may be possible. Please contact us to enquire about further possibilities for your institution.

b) How do I register a large number of IP addresses?

Contact the office appropriate to your region with the list of IP addresses.

North and South America: oxfordonline@oup.com

Rest of the world: onlinesubscriptions@oup.com

Tip: remember to use the asterisk (*) wildcard character if you are registering an entire class of IP address, and condense IP ranges in the following way, e.g. nnn.nnn.1-30.*

c) How do I change my institution's IP addresses?

Contact the office appropriate to your region with the list of IP addresses.

North and South America: oxfordonline@oup.com

Rest of the world: onlinesubscriptions@oup.com

Tip: remember to use the asterisk (*) wildcard character if you are registering an entire class of IP address, and condense IP ranges in the following way, e.g. nnn.nnn.1-30.*

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9) Questions about passwords
a) I've forgotten my site administrator password.

Please contact us and specify whether you would like to be reminded of your password, or whether you would like to change it (along with details of what you'd like to change it to) and we will send you the details as soon as possible.

b) Can I distribute my site administrator user name and password to allow access for colleagues?

No, this is a restricted ID which should be kept in a safe place for use only by the librarian or site administrator. As access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf for institutions is IP authenticated, your colleagues will be able to access the service without a user name and password. If any of your colleagues requires a user name and password for off-site access to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf, please contact us.

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Access questions for users of Oxford-hosted ODRS titles

Please check with your library's administrator whether the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf is hosted by Oxford or by your institution. If it is hosted by your institution, these FAQs will not apply to you, and access problems will be supported by your library or technical department.


1) I can't access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf
2) I'm being bounced back to a blank log-in screen
3) I've forgotten my username and password
4) Can I access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf away from my library/institution?
5) Do you offer library card access?
6) Is the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf accessible through Athens?

1) I can't access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf
Are you a valid user?

The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf titles are only available to institutions who have purchased the content.

It is possible that some of your registration details are incorrect on our database.

If the IP address/es for your institution or the username and password which you use to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf are incorrect in our customer database you will not be able to access the site.

Once you have checked whether your details are correct, please contact us.

Are you using your correct username and password?

If you receive an error message stating a mismatch between your username and password, you may have entered the wrong details. Please try again or contact us for help or to request that a password reminder be sent to you. Remember, only account administrators can reset passwords, so please see your librarian or administrator for help.

Could your institution's account be on hold?

Occasionally an account is put on hold if we have not received payment. In this case we would usually have been in touch with your administrator about this. Speak to your administrator for more information.

Is your browser configured to accept cookies?

The site uses cookies by default for authentication, and also to record usage statistics for your administrator. If your browser is not configured to accept cookies, you will be bounced back to the username/password page. To configure your browser to accept cookies:

This problem may also occur if you are behind a firewall, in which case you should contact your technical department or Internet Service Provider.

2) After I enter my username/password and click on "log in" and then try to search, I'm being bounced back to a blank log-in screen

It is possible that you need to alter your cache settings:

Netscape 6: Select Edit from the Netscape menu bar, and then choose, Preferences, Advanced, Cache, and select "every time I view the page".

In Internet Explorer: IE5 Select Tools: Internet Options on the menu bar, on the General tab select the Settings button and select "every visit to the page"; Other Select View from the menu bar in Internet Explorer, and then choose Internet Options, General. and then Settings, and under "check for newer versions of stored pages" just select "every visit to the page".

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3) I have forgotten my user name and password to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf

Only account administrators can reset passwords. Please see your librarian or administrator for help.

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4) Can I access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf away from my library/institution?

It is possible to have remote access to an institution's subscription, through either a referrer page on the institution's site, or username/password access. We suggest that you contact the head of reference at your library for more details.

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5) Do you offer library card access?

Librarians or account administrators have the option to allow their users to access the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf using their library card. Please ask your librarian or administrator to contact us about setting up library card access.

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6) Is the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf accessible through Athens?

Athens access has not currently been enabled for ODRS standalone titles. If your institution subscribers to the ODRS Western Civilization subject cluster as an addition to your ORO Premium subscription, then you can access these through Athens. Please ask your librarian or administrator for details.

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Questions about account administration

1) How do I use Subscriber Services?
2) Can I see usage statistics for my library/institution?
3) How do I update my institution's subscription record?


1) How do I use Subscriber services?

If you have purchased standalone ODRS titles, please go to the ODRS administrator page, and enter your administrator username and password in order to access the following services:

If you have subscribed to the ODRS Western Civilization cluster as an addition to your ORO Premium subscription, log in to the subscriber services site appropriate to your region:

Subscribers in North and South America

Subscribers in the UK/Rest of the world

Enter your administrator username and password in order to access the following services:

f you are an administrator and cannot log in to your account administration site, please contact us.

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2) Can I see usage statistics for my library/institution?

If you have purchased standalone ODRS titles, please go to the Administrator area and select the appropriate region. You will be prompted for your site administrator user name and password.

If you have subscribed to the ODRS Western Civilization cluster as an addition to your ORO Premium subscription, please go to the Usage Statistic Report page. You will be prompted for your site administrator user name and password.

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3) How do I update my library/institution's account/subscription record?

If you have purchased standalone ODRS titles, please log in to the Administrator area. You will be prompted for your administrator user name and password.

If you have subscribed to the ODRS Western Civilization cluster as an addition to your ORO Premium subscription, log in to the subscriber services site appropriate to your region:

Subscribers in North and South America

Subscribers in the UK/Rest of the world

Alternatively you can just e-mail the office appropriate to your region giving details of what you would like us to change and we will contact you as soon as we have implemented the changes:

North and South America: oxfordonline@oup.com

Rest of the world: onlinesubscriptions@oup.com

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Questions about content

1) Some accented characters will not display properly
2) I've spotted an error in an entry
3) One of the cross-reference links in an entry doesn't work
4) I am having problems with searching
5) What style do the citation examples in the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf follow?
6) Why are some images not included in the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?


1) Some accented characters will not display properly.

Since browsers vary in their support for Unicode, your account administrator might need to alter the extent to which Unicode gets delivered to your institution's browsers.

If you have purchased standalone ODRS titles, please log in to the Administration area page, choose the option 'View or change your account preferences', and you will then be prompted to enter your administrator user name and password to access your account preferences. There are three options available to you in Account preferences:

If you have subscribed to the ODRS Western Civilization cluster as an addition to your ORO Premium subscription, please log in to the Oxford Reference Online site, then select Subscriber services from the blue toolbar on the Home page, choose the option 'View or change your account preferences', and you will then be prompted to enter your administrator user name and password to access your account preferences. There are three options available to you in Account preferences:

The FullUnicode option will mean that all your users will be delivered Unicode data. The LightUnicode option is designed to accommodate a reasonably wide range of browsers; for some special characters and gif images or a 'flat' (simplified) form of the character will be displayed. The Latin1Display option only delivers characters from the Latin1 character set to the users; all other special characters are delivered either as gifs or a flattened form.

If you choose the FullUnicode option, we advise you to download the Microsoft Arial unicode font, especially if you are using Internet Explorer 5.x.

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2) I've spotted an error in an entry.

If you notice an error in an entry, please contact us. We cannot usually correct errors in entries immediately. However, we will load the corrected text at the next available update.

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3) One of the cross-reference links in an entry doesn't work.

If a cross-reference link in an entry isn't working, please contact us. We cannot correct faulty cross-reference links immediately. However, we will load the corrected data at the next available update.

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4) I am having problems with searching.

Try looking at our online Help file which gives you lots of information about searching as well as tips on how to avoid common problems (Remember, you will need to be logged in in order to access the help files). It might be that you need to use a different type of search, or perhaps alter your search term to either cast your net more widely if you have too few results, or narrow your search if you've got more results than you can deal with.

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5) What style do the citation examples in the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf follow?

ODRS is MLA (http://www.mla.org/style_faq4) compliant in terms of its ordering of the components, though doesn't adopt the underlining and other styling recommendations.

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6) Why are some images not included in Oxford Digital Reference Shelf?

In cases where the image does not appear in the online edition of an Oxford Digital Reference Shelf title, this is typically because of copyright reasons. To view any additional images, please refer to the relevant entry in the printed edition of the book.

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If you have not found the answer you need here, please contact us.

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