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The use of web accelerators can appear to be a great convenience, but there are dangers in going too fast.
Web accelerators are applications that use various techniques to make web pages load faster or to download links, images, or files more quickly. Google Web Accelerator and the Firefox plugin "DownThemAll" aresome commonly used products.
The two main problems caused by the use of web accelerators are:
- You cannot access licensed content from a valid UC IP address.
- You can trigger vendor "excessive downloading" thresholds which can result in your IP address being blocked by the vendor.
This second situation can be especially problematic if an ejournal or database is being accessed via the campus proxy server or a VPN. In cases like this, the actions of one person can shut down access to a vendor's resources for all users of a campus proxy server or VPN until the problem is resolved and the vendor removes the IP block!
Here are examples of the two problems.
- Google Web Accelerator
A campus computer user accessing licensed content from on-campus was blocked from viewing JSTOR's online content because JSTOR did not recognize the user's IP address as a valid UC campus IP address. JSTOR displayed the following message, "We're sorry. You do not have access to JSTOR from your current location."
The user was blocked because Google Web Accelerator sends the user's page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic, thus, the request comes from a Google IP address, not the UC user's IP address. JSTOR Technical Services advised the user to add JSTOR's domain (".jstor.org") to the "Don't Accelerate These Sites" text area in Google's Web Accelerator Preferences section; see http://webaccelerator.google.com/support.html#preferences2 (http://webaccelerator.google.com/support.html#preferences2) for more information.
- Access to Ejournal Site Blocked by the Vendor
With web accelerators it becomes very easy to trigger "breach of contract" issues. Recently, CDL was notified by a vendor that a user's IP had been blocked because of "excessive downloading", in this case, the downloading of an entire issue of a specific online journal. IP blocks can be triggered when an excessive number of files are downloaded from a single IP address within the vendor's pre-determined period of time (whether or not the files appear in the same online journal issue).
What you should know:
Most of UC's access to licensed electronic resources is controlled by IP addresses.
If you use the campus proxy server or VPN service and initiate a breach, this can result in a lockout to that vendor's site for all proxy or VPN users. License breaches are violations of the Acceptable Computer Use Policy and subject to disciplinary action.