Creating WAYF-less URLs to resources

A “WAYF” is simply a login screen in which the user is required to select “Where Are You From” (WAYF). Institutions may have different single sign-on mechanisms, hence the need for this kind of gateway.

However, it is possible to supply your users with direct links to resources without having them first go through the WAYF. After all, you know where they are coming from, so in theory you should be able to preselect the correct option on the WAYF.

123Library has devised a mechanism to allow you to do this. Please note that our WAYF-less URLs will take the user to the “book details” page, not to the book itself. They will still need to click “read now” to launch the eBook reader. This removes the inconvenience of waiting for the eBook reader to launch if the eBook is not the one they intended to access.

What kind of login do you use?

It is important to select the right method below based on your kind of login. If you are unsure which method you use, please contact us to find out.

URL format

All of our WAYF-less URLs begin in one of the following two ways: or

The value “XXXX” is the ID of the eBook to which you would like to link (currently, these URLs only work with eBooks and not with journals). You can see this ID number on the “book details” page, for example at this URL: …the ID is 46770.

Alternatively, the value “YYYY” is an escaped URL on the 123Library website. This is a slightly more technical approach, but it does allow you to redirect the user to any page, not just a book details page. For example, to redirect the user to /mylibrary/ then your URL would begin like this: If you are unsure how to escape a URL, please consult your local web team who will be able to help.

You can download details of all your subscribed books from your “Data” section under “My Account”, and the “tab-delimited” download file also provides these IDs in the first column.

Given the basic format, you may need to add extra parameters to the URL depending on your login method:

IP and Referer URL login

If you use IP or Referer URL then you need not do anything further. However, your users will optionally go through an extra login step on arrival at 123Library to identify themselves. At the end of that login step, they will be safely taken to the eBook.

Once they have logged in, they will not be asked to login again that session, so your URLs will then lead direct to the eBook.

Athens login

If you use Athens to log in, you will need to add an extra parameter, so your WAYF-less URL will look like this: Your users will be taken through Athens login (if they are not already signed in) and then straight to the eBook.

Shibboleth login

Finally, if you are using a Shibboleth-compatible single sign-on service, you will need to add two extra parameters, and your URLs will look like this: This requires some explanation. The basic form is clearly the same as above: … but you have to add the final parameter on: &

The value of this parameter is the URL-encoded address of your single sign-on Entity ID. Your SSO administrator will be able to tell you this, if you don't already know it. In the example above, the Entity ID is: and the URL-encoded value is:

Important: the Entity ID must be URL-encoded. There are plenty of tools online to enable you to do this automatically, for example

Your users will be taken to your organisation's single sign-on page if they are not already signed in, and will then be taken automatically to the eBook specified in your URL.

Anonymous login for IP or Referer users

It is also possible to use the anonymous login feature instead of requiring a personalised login for IP or Referer URL users. These users are usually taken to a secondary login step to identify themselves in order to use the various personalisation features.

However, if you need URLs to link straight to the book page with an option to read without any personalisation features, you can simply add “&login=anon” to the end of your WAYF-less URL. For example:

Please note that this additional feature is only available to IP and Referer URL users.


In the examples above, both http and https have been used. Either is possible, but internally the server will redirect you along an https route, which is preferred. However, if you cannot use https links from your organisation, then please use the http version.