Skip to Main Content


What to know about the GW Libraries' new authentication system, OpenAthens.

OpenAthens at GW

OpenAthens logo

Starting in the Summer Semester 2024, GW Libraries and Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library will use OpenAthens as our new authentication system. OpenAthens will integrate with GW's Single Sign-On system to provide secure access to our electronic resources both on and off campus. 

GW's OpenAthens will go live on May 20, 2024.

Users should not notice many changes. They will still see the same GW authentication screen to get to resources. OpenAthens will not add or remove any content. The exact URLs for our resources will change OpenAthens; see Creating Links for more information. One noticeable change is that the Institutional Login or OpenAthens Login links on many (but not all!) sites will now be available for GW users.


Q. Who runs OpenAthens?

A. OpenAthens is part of JISC, a not-for-profit organization based in the UK. 

Q. Why are we migrating?

A. The immediate benefits of OpenAthens will be greater stability and reliability. In the longer term, the University plans to move away from IP-based authentication as much as possible, and OpenAthens will allow this.

Q. Will old pre-OpenAthens links still work?

A. Old links to our resources should be updated as soon as practical. However, for the time being there will be automatic redirects from the old links to OpenAthens. 

Q. Will IP address authentication still work?

A. In the immediate future, IP-based authentication will still work for most resources. This will, for example, allow users to get full text access when on campus or on the VPN even without an OpenAthens link. However, some resources may not be able to use both OpenAthens and IP authentication.

Q. Should we still use the VPN?

A. The GW VPN gives users IP-based authentication while off campus. It should not be necessary with OpenAthens, but you are still free to use it. It may still improve access for things other than GW Libraries resources. For example, the VPN will allow non-law students to access certain databases that we get from the Burns Law Library (which is not currently using OpenAthens). These will be noted in our database list. 

Q. Will we have access to more materials? Will we lose any materials? 

A. OpenAthens will not add or remove any content that you can access through the GW Libraries. However, remember that books, journals, and databases are added and removed all the time for other reasons. 

Q. Does OpenAthens have anything to do with Open Access?

A. No. The similar "OA" names are just a coincidence. 

Q. What about EZproxy?

A. EZproxy was our old authentication system. OpenAthens will replace it. You can recognize EZproxy links because they start with "" or contain the string "proxygw" somewhere in the URL. These links will continue to work for the time being, but should be updated to use OpenAthens.

GW Libraries • 2130 H Street NW • Washington DC