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MFA Implementation Notice

May 22, 2020

Northwestern University Libraries, including the Styberg Library, are adding an extra layer of security for our electronic resources, including journals and databases. Around June 15, users accessing electronic resources will sign-on to a new, improved Online Passport. By July 1, you will then be prompted to use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA).

This means journals, databases and e-books will 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 are we making this change — especially now, amid the many other process changes we’ve 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 such theft happens on a large scale, it can (and has, on several occasions) led to the deactivation of our access to valuable resources for all libraries.

To Use Multi-Factor Authentication:

We recommend setting up your MFA account before June 15 with these straightforward steps:

  1. If you have not already done so, please register a convenient phone number with Northwestern. There are step-by-step instructions which may be helpful as well.
  2. When accessing library electronic resources after June 15, you will be prompted to confirm your identity through your registered phone via voice, text, or push notification to the Duo Mobile app (recommended option).

See here for more information about Multi-factor Authentication at Northwestern University. If you have further concerns regarding how this will affect 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 after June 15.