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Frequently Asked Question's

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Thomson Gale has many forms of authentication that we can use to enable your patrons to gain access to your subscriptions. When you subscribe your Thomson Gale representative after consulting with you, will select the most appropriate methods of authentication for access.

How does Gale Identify which account I am coming from?

Identification is the process in which we determine which account you are wanting to log into, while Authentication determines if you are allowed into that account. Identification occurs before authentication.


Methods of Authentication

IP authentication

An IP address is an internet address that enables computers to talk to each other. Thomson Gale can use this information as a method to ensure that you are coming from a certain region or campus. Once we have your IP address(s) in your account that means that your users will not have to be challenged for access credentials. FAQ


Password Authentication

To access your subscription you will be supplied an access URL. If you are unable to provide IP authentication or have remote users and would like to be able to access your subscriptions from home or off campus you can do so with a password. Thomson Gale can provide you with a password or use one that you choose that is relevant to your user population. FAQ


Cookie Authentication

A "persistent" cookie can be used in lieu of the computer's IP address, enabling automatic authentication of a user's online session. This is useful for libraries that have not yet obtained exclusive use of an IP address pool from their internet service provider (ISP). Gale will issue the library's site administrator a password that is used the first time a browser connects to a Gale online session. During this initial logon, a cookie is issued to the browser and stored on the PC. Subsequent logons will be authenticated automatically by the cookie; users at these workstations will not be challenged for access credentials. FAQ


Barcode Authentication

This is primarily a "remote user" or "off campus" authentication solution. Many Libraries issue their patrons a barcode/membership number. Thomson Gale can authenticate on this number pattern. To enable this method of authentication you will need to supply the barcode number pattern. Often it looks like the following :

Note : where each d is a digit [0-9]


Referring URL Authentication

Thomson Gale has implemented referring URL authentication. This Authentication can be used to enable patron access to your subscriptions from your library website. FAQ


Gale license agreements require libraries to make a good faith effort to secure their links to Gale online resources and prevent un-authorized access to those links. Authorized users can be authenticated automatically using library or campus network IP numbers or cookies. Remote patrons should be challenged for one or more credentials issued by the licensing institution before being allowed access to Gale links. These credentials may take several forms:

  • Username and password

  • Barcode Number

  • Digital Certificate

How to Implement Referring URL

You can contact Technical Support with the referring URL that you would like to use with the access URL to your subscriptions that you have been supplied for your databases that you subscribe to from Thomson Gale.

Example* <where * acts as a truncation>


Library Managed Passwords

Also Known As : Scripting ; Remote Patron Authentication Service (RPAS) 

Library Managed Passwords are the option where an organization is able to host a CGI application to validate passwords. This tool is used to enable a Library to control the type of passwords as well as their expiry. There is very little to limit this option other than the resources in which the library is looking to provide. Gale has and will provide a number of existing CGI scripts that will enable access. This method of authentication is more requirements heavy upon the organization that the other methods and we recommend that you read our technical bulletin that explains both the requirements and the end user experience of this solution. 

A Brief Explanation

The script will communicate with InfoTrac Web and validate the password submitted by your end user to access your subscription.



Athens is an authentication system that allows users in a given institution to access all of the databases available to that institution using a single password, instead of having to use different passwords for each database.




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