Toggles addition of EZProxy domain extension and optional prefix to current URL for academic e-journal access.
Most electronic versions of academic journals remain behind a walled garden. This means you have to log into your university portal, and access the journal from there. The way it works is that access to the publisher’s site is controlled through a “proxy url”, which is basically a university-specific extension to the publisher’s url. You can get to the journal without it, but you can only read the tables of contents and article abstracts in each issue. For example, there is an article archived at JSTOR: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40401861, but I can only read it via my university with http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/stable/40401861, which makes me log into my university account at University of Western Sydney. There are different proxy services, but I think the most common is EZProxy, which is what my university uses.
I use Zotero to maintain a list (with contents) of articles from journals and other sources. With it I can easily grab articles I find, catalogue them for later citation and paste references into the works that I author.
In days gone by, if you wanted to do a literature search, you’d go to the bricks-and-mortar library and pour through various indexes provided by the publishers and also disciplinary institutions. You can still do that, of course. But now with Google Scholar hooked into all the indexes, you don’t need to leave home. You need to go from the search results to the article via your university’s proxy server, preferably in one step. When you’re on a mission, you can easily burn through a dozen articles in a single session.
Zotero was originally provided as a Firefox extension. In it, you can maintain a list of url redirection instructions, and the extension is smart enough to suggest when new entries are required. With EZProxy at my university, the translation is always to add ezproxy.uws.edu.au to the end of the journal publisher’s url domain. It happens automatically.
But after I decided to switch browser to Google Chrome, which demands use of the ‘standalone’ version of Zotero, I lost the proxy redirection functionality. I don’t know why the Chrome “connector” is unable to do it. I got tired of typing the EZProxy domain onto the end of the URL address.
So I built this little Chrome extension to do it.
Instructions after installation:
1. A new EZProxy toolbar icon should appear
2. Right-mouse the tookbar icon and select Options
3. Enter the proxy domain for your university (mine is ezproxy.uws.edu.au).
4. Enter the proxy prefix string (optional), for example 0-
5. Save the options.
6. When you have a journal page showing, perhaps found via Google Scholar, click the button to append the proxy domain to the url. You may be taken to your login page the first time in your session.
7. Click the button again to remove the proxy domain extension. The button is like a toggle now.
The extension is supplied under a GNU licence, you know the one.
Ver 1.1: JStor changed its access methods, and this extensions has been improved to cope.
Ver 2.0: Updated to satisfy new API requirements, especially for security; corrected permissions--only accesses tab url.
Ver 2.1: Improved UI (but still simple).
Ver 3.0: Proxy extension can now be toggled on and off. Package has been updated further to conform to new publication standards.
Ver 3.2: Reduced permission demands. I'm sure I did that before....
Ver 3.5: Options closes itself after proxy url is entered.
Ver 3.6: Icons are transparent for viewing on coloured browser themes/skins.
ver 4.0: Added provision for prefix to proxy URL.