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Troubleshooting common problems

Advice for solving common problems on EPIC databases.

Unreliable access and slow-running databases are frustrating for customers and staff, and will discourage people from using your EPIC resources. Here’s some advice to help deal with common problems.

Document the problem

Work with staff to keep an accurate log for a week or two, noting any downtime or significant slow-downs.

Monitor how long it takes for the database to display search results or download documents. Perceived speed is as important as actual speed: if staff or users tell you a database is too slow to reliably use this is a problem.

If you are using Firefox you can install a plug-in that can measure the time it takes to load specific files, and the sizes of those files. Download the lori (Life-of-request info) plug-in for Firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1743)

Network Issues

You may find you need to tweak a number of these factors to improve performance: try to identify and work on them one at a time.

Slowdowns

If your network has periodic slow-downs, investigate whether there are activities competing for bandwidth or server capacity, such as processing reports. You may be able to reschedule these for non-peak times, or scale them down during peak-use periods.

Local IP range

Is your IP address(es) supplied to vendors/EPIC still current? Your IP address needs to be registered with the vendors to enable in-house access.

Bandwidth

Ask your IT support for the specifications and actual speed of your bandwidth. “Broadband” has a range of specifications and lower ranges may not be able to handle using large files simultaneously.

Proxy servers

If you use a proxy server product ask for the server throughput to be checked. If you have a proxy server for in-house users, consider whether this is essential; straight IP authentication may be faster.

Filters/Firewalls

If your network uses a firewall, proxy server or any content filtering software these could be blocking access. Contact the vendor technical representatives for lists of the IP ranges and/or domain ‘exceptions’ that need to be provided for, and pass to your local network administrator to include in their exceptions.

Hardware

Ask for the configurations of your hardware to be checked – in particular in switches, server memory or other key components that may cause bottlenecks. Check that your server log maintenance is up-to-date.

Access/Authentication Issues

If there are regular external authentication failures (e.g. failure to log in) :

  • Talk with your local IT support. If they can’t help, contact vendor technical support
  • Review your current authentication method: more information about authentication
  • Investigate whether a proxy server set-up (with the authentication data drawn from your ILS membership files) could provide a more effective solution. All EPIC products will support this.

New Zealand schools

School libraries should email epic@epic.org.nz for all EPIC technical support queries. Please refer to the EPIC Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Page last updated: 24 February 2017.