Accessing EBSCO on the go

EBSCO offers two ways to search their databases and download articles from your smartphone or tablet. The simplest way is to use the mobile-friendly website:

Click “test mobile smartphone,” and you’re on your way. It’s a simple search, and as long as you’re logged in as a Penn user, you can download articles.

But EBSCO is also available as an app, and I think it’s a better experience. On the mobile-firendly website, you have to select databases (like  EBSCO MegaFile, Business Source Complete, ERIC) every time you search, but the app lets you save settings like this.

Don’t click away to the App Store or Google Play just yet though. You need an authentication key first.

Annoying as that may seem, it’s for good reason. EBSCO needs to know that you are a subscriber (that the Penn Libraries pay for access), so you need to first visit EBSCO’s website to verify your access rights.

It’s not obvious how to do this when you get to the site, however, so here’s the scoop.

Click here (from your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet):

Make sure EBSCO knows you’re a Penn subscriber. If you’re using a lab computer or are on AirPennNet, or if you’ve been prompted to log in with your PennKey, EBSCO knows you are a subscriber.

If you’re off-campus, try our handy proxy bookmark tool to log in for access.

This is what the top right-hand corner of the site looks like when it knows that you are a subscriber with the Penn Libraries:

Now that EBSCO knows who you are, scroll to the bottom on the page to find this link:

Click the link and follow the instructions. EBSCO will email you an authentication key and instructions for downloading and authenticating. Once you’re set up, your app has access to all of EBSCO’s databases. They key is good for nine months, after which you’ll need to re-prove that you’re a Penn subscriber.

This access model – adding an authentication hurdle – is pretty common for library resources with mobile apps. The Naxos streaming music library has a similar setup.

Once you have the app set up, don’t forget to tweak your search settings. EBSCO searches many databases at once, but you probably only want to search a select few.

Go to Settings and uncheck the databases you don’t want to search. Settings are saved moving forward so you only have to do this once.

One word of caution: Do this close to your laptop. The database titles are cut off in the app’s settings screen, so it’s hard to figure out what you’re checking and unchecking. Open EBSCO in a full browser window, go to the Advanced Search, and select Choose Databases to see the full list.

The app search is less sophisticated than the full web version. You can only limit results by full text, peer reviewed, or date range, so stick to the web site for complex queries. Otherwise the app works as described. Search, read, download and email articles to your heart’s content – anywhere, anytime.

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