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Online reference library help

Signing in

We subscribe to several online resources from encyclopedias to newspapers. For free access from home, you’ll need to sign in with your library card number and PIN.

  1. Login to your library account. This will take you to My account dashboard.
  2. Click Home link in the breadcrumb trail to go back to the home page.
  3. Click Online reference library under Digital library on the right hand of the screen.
  4. Choose the reference material you would like to look at.

If you’re already signed in, just go to the online reference library and click on the ‘at home’ links to start using them.

Staying signed in

Your online library session will end if you sign out or don’t use the online library for 20 minutes – for example, if you visit another website like our online resources. This ‘timeout’ happens for security reasons to protect your personal data, and to make sure we can handle lots of people using the online library at the same time. By setting the online library page to reload every 10 minutes, and using Ctrl+click to open links, you could keep your session open.

Why am I sometimes asked for a second password?

Usually you can use the online resources immediately when you click on their names after signing into the online library, but sometimes you may be asked for another password or username. When you click a link to go from one website to another, the website you’re going to is usually told which website you’re coming from. All the online library subscription resources use this to check that you’re coming from the East Sussex County Council website before they let you in. If you are asked for another password at this stage, the subscription website hasn’t recognised that you have signed in via the East Sussex online library. This is usually caused by the way your computer is set up or the way it is connecting to the Internet. Problems can be caused by:

  • firewalls
  • cookies
  • your Internet browser
  • type of computer you are using
  • your Internet service provider.

For more about dealing with each of these possible causes, see below.

Changing your Internet security settings


Security software on your computer – like McAfee Personal Firewall Plus – can block information about the website you have come from. That’s why the online resource asks for another password. You can change your security settings to allow this information for specific sites. You’ll need to do this once for each site you want to access. When it asks for the site name – copy and paste in the links listed below:

As the Microsoft Windows ‘built-in’ firewall blocks information about the website you are coming from, you will need to use a different firewall to access our online resources.


A cookie is a small text file sent to your computer by some websites to store information about your visit to the site. If you want to view the web anonymously, you can set your web browser to refuse cookies. However, high security settings for cookies on your web browser can prevent our online resources working.

  • Change your security settings In most web browsers you can organise your cookies and set security levels so that you only receive cookies from certain safe sites. Explore your browser’s help pages for more information.
  • Remove older cookies Sometimes earlier cookies on your machine may also prevent access. Use the ‘delete cookies’ option on your browser to remove them.

Different types of computer and Internet browser

Any Internet browser works with the online library. However, if you have an old browser we recommend you upgrade your browser to avoid bugs. On some computers you may need to use a different kind of browser to use some resources on the online reference library. For example, you may have no problems using Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on an Apple Mac if you use the Safari browser, but are asked for a password when you try to view it using Internet Explorer.

  • PC If Internet Explorer or MS Edge cause problems, we recommend Google Chrome or Firefox.
  • Apple Mac Use Safari or Firefox.

Download the latest browsers by visiting the links below:

How you connect to the Internet

Access to our online resources can be affected by the way you connect to the Internet via your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Please contact your ISP for advice.

Contact us for more help

If none of the suggestions above have helped you access our online resources, our web team may be able to help. Ask us for help using our Library enquiries and comments form. Please provide as much information as possible about the way your computer is set up. You may not be able to answer all the questions, but the more information you provide, the quicker we will be able to deal with your enquiry.

  • What operating system are you using? (like Windows 7 or Mac OS X)
  • What web browser are you using? (like Internet Explorer, Firefox or iPhone including the version number if known, like Internet Explorer 11)
  • Are you able to access one or more of our other online resources? (like Newsbank or Times Digital Archive)
  • Do you have cookies enabled in your web browser?
  • Are you using a firewall? If so, which one?
  • What error messages are you getting?