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How to localize a webpage of a journal paper?

Zhigang Suo's picture

(Adapted from a post originally posted on Applied Mechanics News on 14 July 2006)

by Daniel C. Suo, Teng Li and Zhigang Suo

Most journals offer the title, authors and abstract of each paper online for free. This information is a foundation for many services. For example, in iMech we would like to discuss papers published in a journal. As another example, Teng has been urging us to adopt CiteUlike, a free social bookmarking website created by Richard Cameron for managing papers. As a third example, RSS readers allow us to subscribe to abstracts of papers from some of the best journals. These services, however, often do not have access to full papers. Here we describe a solution to this problem.

Say we are on the website of a Nature paper: Upon clicking the button "Full Paper" or "PDF", we land on another webpage asking us to buy the paper, even though Harvard University subscribes to Nature. Annoyed, we reload the website of Nature via Harvard University proxy server, search for the paper, and then download the paper.

Teng noticed that, for a given paper, its free webpage and its Harvard-proxy webpage differ only by a string "". He inserted the string "" into the above URL, namely, This new URL leads to a webpage where he could download the paper. ("ezp" stands for EZproxy, a software used by libraries in nearly 50 countries to extend web-based licensed databases to remote users. See a complete list of institutions that have purchased EZproxy.)

Daniel has automated the above trick by creating a bookmarklet, with the following javascript code. Read more

Update on 18 July 2008.  Harvard has recently changed the string to "".  This new string has been added to Daniel's bookmarklet.

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