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Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library & Archives

Remote Access: Help

Remote access is available to staff whose assigned offices are in the Palais des Nations (UNOG, UNCTAD, UNECE, etc.) or at UNHCR


Remote Access Troubleshooting

This page is for issues regarding remote access to the UN Geneva Library's e-resources.
If any related issues are not covered in this guide then please let us know by filling out the form at

Note: The IT system for remote access is called OpenAthens and you will see this name on the login page.


OpenAthens Guide for Staff

Remote Access via OpenAthens

Access Links

Library Catalogue (“Global Search”) Links

The Library catalogue (“Global Search”) is your recommended first-port-of-call for our e-resources (and print resources of course!).
It has a modern interface with a variety of filtering options.
You can sign into it to pin records and searches so that you can refer to them at a later date.
Request sign in credentials for the catalogue via our Ask A Librarian service.

E-Resources Page links

This page is another friendly entry point for our e-resources, and contains some links that aren't included in the catalogue, such as links to individual ID based resources like LexisNexis.

User accounts & Authentication with the OpenAthens system

UN Staff with an email address (also & emails)

For most of our users (excluding UNHCR and ILC staff at this point in time) access is handled through Azure Authentication. This is the same authentication system that is used for signing in Umoja and the various Microsoft Office products in web browsers. It utilises multi-factor authentication (“MFA”) to enhance security – typically this involves entering your UN username/password (note: this is the username/password that you use to sign into your UN outlook email in a web browser) then confirming the sign-in authorisation using the authenticator app.

More information on Azure Authentication can be found on the UN intranet site (“iSeek”).

Because OpenAthens has been configured to work with Azure, this means users with an email address (or a domain that has been configured to work with Azure such as and can sign into OpenAthens when prompted in a similar way as to when they would sign into Microsoft Outlook in a web browser.

UNHCR staff, ILC members, and others without a email address

At this time these staff members will need to sign in with a personal account.

The Sign-In Process

Clicking links from the catalogue or e-resources page

For most resources, when users are outside of the Palais des Nations IP ranges (and also those of OHCHR), they will be redirected to the OpenAthens sign in page after clicking on a relevant e-resource link, or loading a bookmarked URL.

  • Note: Some e-resources (e.g. Jane’s Online) always require OpenAthens sign in, even when onsite. These settings are configured in order to meet vendor terms of service or for other reasons.

Below is a screenshot of the initial OpenAthens sign-in page:

Choose How To Sign In

What Option Should A User Choose?

  • Users with an email address (or or should choose the “UN Staff with email” option.
  • UNHCR staff & ILC members and their assistants etc. should choose the “Personal accounts” option.
    2. Option 1: “UN Staff with email”

After choosing this option, users will then be taken to the Azure UN sign in page – see below:

Note: As per normal Azure sign-in, pick your account, then sign in with your normal UN email & password.

UniteID Sign In

Users should then sign in using their UN credentials (i.e. their UN email address and password).

With Multi-Factor Authentication, they will need to confirm the sign-in request using the Authenticator app.

Authenticator App

After you have finished signing in with Azure, you will then be directed onto your desired resource.

Option 2: “Personal Accounts”

Those with personal accounts (i.e. UNHCR staff, ILC members and their assistants etc.) will need to sign in using sing in credentials provided by the Library.

Users may make a request here:

                Note: All UNHCR & ILC members will have their credentials imported over from EZ Proxy by the beginning of 2022.

Personal Account - Sign In Page

After entering their sign in credentials users will be redirected to their desired resource.

WAYFless Access

In addition to the typical method of using links from our catalogue or e-resource page, for some vendors WAYFless access is also possible.

WAYFless (note: WAYF comes from “Where are you from”) access allows users to go directly to some vendor websites and sign in to OpenAthens on the sites themselves, thereby granting them access to their desired content.

In brief, OpenAthens allows for proxy and federated access to content. Proxy access is where one assumes another IP address in a sense. Federated access refers to a system where OpenAthens acts as an intermediary between a vendor and a client organisation, so when an access request is received by a vendor, the vendor passes the requestor’s information onto OpenAthens, which in turn then checks with the client (in this case the UN) that the requesting user is a member of the client’s organisation.

The access is WAYFless because the access URL is not a specially written URL such as that a proxy system might use. Such URLs are set up in such a way as to redirect a user to a sign-in page where necessary. WAYFless access means that a user can simply go to the vendor website, and sign in using the OpenAthens option provided on the site.

More information on WAYFless access can be found here: About federation and federated access management - OpenAthens Access - OpenAthens Documentation

Note: Only some vendors are able to offer WAYFless access, but all e-resources to which the Library subscribes are accessible from either the catalogue or the e-resources page.

Example: JSTOR

Users first need to find their institution. In our case they should search for “United Nations Office at Geneva” or “UNOG”, or they may search by the acronyms of the other agencies of the UNSEIAC cost-sharing consortium.

Then you may log in as normal.

MyAthens – The OpenAthens user portal

It is not necessary to go to a sign in page for OpenAthens first, as if you are off site then you will be automatically redirected to the sign in page when you click on one of our e-resources links.

However, for those who wish to visit the user portal (e.g. staff with Personal Accounts who may wish to change their password), then this is possible.

The user portal is called MyAthens and can be found here:

Simply log into MyAthens as you would with any other OpenAthens resource.

MyAthens - Sign In Page

Once signed in, you can see a list of all e-resources available to you via OpenAthens.

It is possible for users to favourite their favourite resources for use later, just as you might bookmark favourite sites in a browser.

The benefit to saving resources here is that the links will stay up to date.

MyAthens - Signed In Screenshot

Ask Us

Open Athens is here!

The Library has switched remote access systems as of 2022!

This service replaces EZ Proxy.