Possible Trouble Spots for Full Text Downloads of NBER Working Papers
The path to a full-text download is through a ``bibliographic page''
that is available for each working paper. You can get to that page via a
search engine (see www.nber.org/papers) or via static html pages by JEL
class (see papers.nber.org/jel),
NBER program name (at papers.nber.org/papersbyprog)
or from the ``New this week''
page However you get to the bibliographic page, the procedure for
obtaining the full text is the same. You select on ``Full-Text'' above
the abstract and select one of the listed options.
Single Copy Sales
Papers are available through an arrangement with ssrn.com
for order processing and fullfillment.
The order basket is like many other such systems, and will ask for the
credit card number, addresses, etc. If you ask for electronic delivery,
this will be done, in Adobe PDF format.
You will need the free Adobe
read or print the paper. Problems with delivery should be addressed to email@example.com.
Authorized users (including online subscribers) of the working paper
series and sites with domain names in ``.GOV'' or in developing
countries and transition economies may download papers for free. No order basket is used is this
case; rather, buttons for full-text delivery are place on the
abstract page. If the paper is not offered, then the
paper is not visible to the search engine. This is probably because the
paper is too old or too new to be have been made available, but it could
just be a temporary computer failure. If the button is visible, just
select it to view the paper. If the paper is offered for single copy
sales, but there is no free download button, then your computer is not
recognized by ours as an authorized site.
Subscribers are recognized by network number, domain name, or individual
What could go wrong?
If you can't find the paper in our database, there are several
- Spelling variations, too restrictive a search, etc.
Try using first names for authors, or go to
papers.nber.org/jel to locate the paper by JEL class.
- The paper may not be one of ours. Many conference papers
in NBER volumes were never issued as NBER working papers.
If you aren't offered the full-text download,
the most likely explanations are:
- The paper isn't available. Check
for a table of the first and last papers available in
full text format. Actually, we now make available every paper
special order facility, but you have to wait a few days.
- No site authorization. Try to download the following
paper: https://papers.nber.org/papers/w0000.pdf. Since we
know that dummy paper exists in full text form, a failure
would likely be due to lack of authorization.
- No reverse name lookup at your site. We can't find out your
domain name if reverse name lookup doesn't work on your
network nameserver. See your network administrator. This
is especially likely to be the problem with the
authorizations for non-subscriber, (country based) domains
because we probably
won't have network numbers for those sites. There is more
reverse name lookup
- Broad area caching. We are seeing that some institutions access
WWW through cache engines that cover an entire ISP, multiple campuses,
even entire countries. For example, many universities in the UK
were for a long time cached by an engine called ginger.wwwcache.ja.uk.net. For
several weeks all
queries from those universities came to us via that cache, and
we didn't know if they were from a subscribing site or not. Two
solutions to this problem developed. First, the subscribing
universities modified the ACL files for their on-campus cache
engines to forward reqeusts of nber.org directly to us, and not
to the national cache engine. Second, we found that the Janet
cache (obeying HTTP 1.1) includes some information about previous
cache engines a request has passed through. We now recognize that
if a request came from an eligible campus, we should honor it
even though the request comes to us from Janet.
We would interested in learning what others are doing about this
problem (email firstname.lastname@example.org). As a workaround,
select on ``Information for subscribers and other expecting free
downloads'' on the
bibliographic page and follow the instructions. More information
is available here.
If you are offered a full-text download, but can't view the file, likely
- If Adobe Reader doesn't appear to load, hit 'Refresh'.
- You don't have the Adobe PDF reader installed. Get it at
www.adobe.com. The reader will need to be reinstalled if your
browser is updated. You can test your installation by browsing
- If Reader gives a
Colorspace Error you need a more recent browser.
- Your browser is too old. Get MS IE or Netscape from at least
version 3.01 or higher. Lynx can download (but not display) the
full-text. If you do a ``save as'' and your browser picks a
default file name that does not end in ``.pdf'', you probably
need a newer browser, but you may be able to change the
extension and view the file.
- If the paper appears to be a blank page, and you are using
MSIE 5.0(beta), it is a bug in the browser. A workaround is
to hit 'reload' or 'refresh' twice. Better still, upgrade the
browser (and remember to reinstall Adobe reader).
- Your connection is too slow. Most papers are in PDF Image format.
This means that the pages are stored as pictures, not text. This
format is choosen because it is accurate, but has the limitation
of being bulky. While it is possible to download a 2 or 3 megabyte
file over a standard modem line, it will take at least 10 minutes,
and may time out if your Internet connection is problematic. We
are trying to increase the proportion of PDF Text format
documents, which are much smaller.
- ``Document contains no data''. This is a mystery glitch that can
sometimes be overcome by using the browser back button, then
reload, then forward.
- In Windows it sometimes works better to right-click on the
``PDF' button and ``save as'' remembering to using the
- If you are still using Adobe Reader 3.x or earlier, you
investing any further effort in diagnosis. Even if you are using
Acrobat 4.0, that won't work well unless you have the
slip-stream release marked 4.05 or better in the "About" box.
The update is not noted on the packaging or on the installation
- Please be advised the none of these PDF files are
protected using the PDF password or lock facility. If you can't
view a file it isn't for that reason.
If you can view and print the file, but can't save it to view
- This is a bug or design error in MSIE. ``File|Save as...''
in MSIE the creates a zero byte file. To save a copy go back to
the ``View PDF'' buuton on our web page and right click instead of
left clicking. This should work with both Netscape and MSIE.
- Also, sometimes Adobe reader can load a file from the
``File|Open'' menu, even if double clicking of the file
icon doesn't work. This is probably a setup issue that can be
fixed by reinstalling Adobe.
If you purchased a single copy and did not receive any emailed
invoice from SSRN, the problem is likely:
- You left an invalid email address.
- You forgot to select on the ``submit'' button on the order form.
If you purchase a single copy for email delivery, likely problems include
those discussed in the previous sections, plus:
- Your mailbox can't hold such a large file.
- Your mail reader can't handle mime encoded documents.
Both of the last two problems can be worked around by using the URL
sent to you in the emailed invoice.
If you can view the paper, but not
print it (or not all of it), the most likely problems are:
- Your network administrator has put a limit on the maximum
size (in bytes, not pages) that can be printed. Try printing
https://www.nber.org/test.pdf (a very short document).
- You didn't give it enough time. Try printing just one page,
and if that works, allow up to half an hour for the full
- You are using the browser print button, instead of the
Acrobat print button.
- Acrobat is running out of memory. Save the paper and
shutdown the computer before trying again.
- Print driver problems with Acrobat
and Windows-95/98. Try using a compatible driver for your
printer, such as the HP LJ III driver with an HP LJ IV printer.
- The Adobe link given above also discusses many printing problems.
If the paper looks wrong - missing pages, missing characters, missing
figures or other production problems:
- Send a notice to email@example.com. A new PDF can normally be
prepared by the next business day. Please be specific about the
defect - tell us the page number of a bad or missing page.
If you still need help, send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the host name and/or IP address of the computer you are using, the
number of the working paper you are having difficulty with, and the time
of the failure (in New York). We can look up the log and perhaps
diagnose the problem, or save it for our programmer. Be sure to tell us
if the problem seems to be specific to a particular working paper, and
if any other computers on the same network can successfully obtain the
If you have ordered the same paper several times in a single short
session, the SSRN.com clerk will probably notice and cancel the duplicate
bills. But you might want to send a message to email@example.com.
If you are a subscriber, or otherwise entitled to free downloads,
do not use the order basket. It will send a bill. You should be
offered a download directly after selecting ``Full-Text'' on the
When sending email about downloading problems, please remember to
include the working paper number and the time of day in New York.
feenberg atsign nber dot org
Last revision 26 October 2009