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July 1, 2020

Northwestern University Libraries, including the Styberg Library, have added an extra layer of security for our electronic resources, including journals and databases. Now, to access electronic resources, you will sign-in through a new, improved Online Passport and will be prompted to use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). (The graphics at the bottom of the page show what both of these look like.)

This means journals, databases and e-books now live behind this extra security step before being accessible to our community. You are likely already familiar with MFA if you use your phone or other device to access bank accounts, email, etc. with an additional code, phone call, or push notification.

Why have we made this change — especially now, amid the many other process changes we have all undergone in our current work environment? This security upgrade has been in the works for some time, because passwords are no longer adequate to protect us from theft of our academic intellectual property. When even a single password is compromised, it can (and has, on several occasions) led to the campus-wide deactivation of our access to valuable resources.

To Use Multi-Factor Authentication:

If you have not already done so, please set up your Duo Mobile MFA account with these simple steps:

  1. Register your device with Northwestern. We strongly recommend registering two numbers—your cell phone and one additional number—and downloading the Duo Mobile [iPhoneAndroid] app.
    1. Note: To ensure you always have the ability to authenticate into the University’s systems, use the Duo Mobile app. The app is quicker than a text or phone call, and it adds an additional layer of security. Duo Mobile works on every device, including smartwatches. Having the app is especially important if you travel outside the United States, as it can be used over wireless anywhere in the world.
  2. When accessing library electronic resources, you will be prompted to confirm your identity through your registered device.

See here for more information about Multi-factor Authentication. If you have further concerns regarding how this affects your interaction with library materials, please contact

If you have already set up MFA for VPN access, you can use the register link above to test, but you should be all set for accessing library resources.

MFA Login Page