Skip to Main Content

Off Campus Access: OpenAthens

OpenAthens login

OpenAthens provides off-campus access to nearly all of Himmelfarb Library's web-based resources to GW faculty, staff, and students.

To login from off-campus, users must know their GW UserID and the associated password.  OpenAthens uses the GW Single Sign-on to provide users access to library resources.  

GW's Identity and Access Management

  • allows user to set up their GW UserID.
  • provides instructions for users who experience difficulty setting up their GW UserID.

Instructions for connection via OpenAthens

  1. Access the Himmelfarb Library website, and select the database, e-text, or e-journal which you would like to access.
  2. When the 'George Washington University Single Sign-on' webpage is displayed, securely login with your GW UserID followed by "".
    • Accounts created before May 22, 2022: Your GW UserID is the portion of your email address prior to @.
    • Accounts created after May 22, 2022: Your GW UserID is your GWID (G#).
  3. Check your Two-Step Authentication (i.e. text, Authenticator app, etc.) to authorize your login.
  4. The database, e-text, or e-journal that you selected will display automatically.


GW SMHS, GWSPH, and Nursing faculty, students and staff should contact the Himmelfarb Library Information Desk at (202) 994-2850 or with access problems.

About OpenAthens

What is OpenAthens?

OpenAthens is a service that replaces EZProxy and VPN as the primary way our users get access to subscription resources.  OpenAthens users the familiar GW Single Sign-On login method and its implementation will be imperceptible to many users.

What changes will users see?

  • Login from on-site, off-site and VPN: When accessing a subscription resource through the library, you may be prompted to log in via GW Single Sign-On, even if you are on campus or connected to VPN.
  • GW Single Sign-On: If you've recently logged in to another resource via GW Single Sign-On, you may be able to access resources without logging in again.
  • Publisher OpenAthens Access: Links to "log in via my institution" are available on some online resources and may allow you to log in with GW Single Sign-On even without going through library links.

What are the changes for linking to journal articles, e-books, etc.:
For GW faculty and staff who maintain links to course materials in Blackboard and other course management systems, links that use the older EZproxy system will need to be updated although additional time is available to make this transition. Some key points:

  • EZproxy link forwarding: EZproxy links continue to work and users are being forwarded directly to the linked resource.
  • Timeline for updating links: Link forwarding will remain in place for one year to allow for time to update links to OpenAthens. 
  • Updated links in Blackboard: Most Blackboard links will be updated automatically via a GW LAI project.
  • Links in PDFs: Links embedded in PDF documents require manual updates.
  • Linking to Electronic Resources provides support for creating durable links:
    • A QuickTool that allows you to generate and test OpenAthens links.
    • Additional methods for creating durable links to journal articles, books, streaming videos, etc.