What is the problem?

Managing IP ranges with your content providers is a time-consuming, inefficient and costly process.

Time – each time your IT department or proxy server provider needs to register an IP address change you need to notify each of your content providers; this can be hundreds of individual publishers and require multiple emails to each. Some, or all, of your users may be denied access to content for as long as this process takes.

Accuracy – manually communicating long strings of numbers is fraught with danger as typos can often limit your ability to access or open up access to others. An error in one digit can have disastrous consequences.

Cost – inaccurate, duplicated and over-lapping IP ranges in publisher access management systems can result in inflated usage statistics which affect your organisation’s understanding of the value of a product and/or your ability to negotiate appropriate pricing.

How it works

For many years PSI has been cleaning up the IP data held by publishers. Our database currently holds over 1.5 billion validated IP addresses from over 70,000 organisations worldwide.

Once your organisation registers, you’ll be sent an administrator login allowing you to check the IPs we hold for you and make any amendments you may require.

In future, you will only need to update your IP details in one place and all publishers will then receive your new, accurate IP data – saving you time and limiting the opportunity for error.

What you need to do

Simply register yourself as a user, check your IPs and start using The IP Registry. Please send any queries to [email protected]

The PSI Block Lists

PSI has developed two block lists designed to help organisations protect themselves from various forms of cyber-crime.

Both block lists are updated regularly and should be downloaded on a regular basis.

The Incoming Block List is a list of IP addresses that have been identified as the source of phishing, spamming, hacking and other forms of cyber-crime.

The Outgoing Block List is a list of domain names and IP addresses of sites that have been identified as malicious and/or illegal. For example, the list includes the domain names of illegal sites like Sci-Hub and LibGen along with other sites from which malware can be inadvertently downloaded to your secure IT systems.

See here for more information about the PSI Block Lists.

FAQs on theIPregistry.org

Q1) I didn’t add the IP addresses shown on my organisation profile. Where did they come from?

A1) PSI undertook a clean-up of publisher held IP addresses which involved cross matching the data held by over 150 publishers, verifying the data against IANA data and corresponding with individual libraries. The project took 4 years to complete and highlighted the fact that 58% of the IP address data held by publishers was wrong. Many of the IPs listed in theIPregistry are the result of this project although we have received many updates to the original data, from both publishers and libraries, since theIPregistry went live.

Q2) What does the colour coding in theIPregistry mean?

A2) The green colour code in the IP Registry means the IP is verified and correct. Purple coloured IPs are also verified and correct, but the purple colour indicates that the IP is a proxy/remote IP for that organisation. The purple status is used to provide an extra piece of information on the IP Registry. Some organisations will also see amber coloured IPs. These IPs are awaiting verification. We don’t want you to have any ambers, if you see any then they should be turned green if correct or deleted if incorrect.

Q3) TheIPregistry.org is free for libraries, but will theIPregistry start to charge libraries in future?

A3) No. The publishers must pay to receive updates from theIPregistry.org. The publishers who support us are essentially providing this FREE service for libraries.

Q4) Why do I have to use theIPregistry.org to update my IPs with some publishers?

A4) The publishers that have signed up to receive updates from theIPregistry.org are providing this FREE to use service for their customers because they believe that it will facilitate the process of IP updates. Libraries can use the registry to broadcast IP changes to multiple publishers at the click of a button. For libraries that must currently communicate changes to many different vendors (sometimes over 800 vendors!) theIPregistry will greatly reduce the burden. Publishers also hope to reduce the burden on their own staff. Publisher staff must process hundreds of IP address updates every month, they do not have the necessary resources to be able to check and verify these updates, so, without theIPregistry, errors and inconsistencies become the norm rather than the exception.

Q5) I’d like to be able to allocate different IP addresses to different parts of my organisation so that we can have separate agreements with publishers and different parts of the organisation can subscribe to different content. Is this possible?

A5) Yes, we can build a hierarchy and allocate different IPs to different parts of the hierarchy. Organisations can tell us how the hierarchy should be built to reflect the subscriptions they have.

Q6) My organisation has been split into a hierarchy in theIPregistry.org but we only ever subscribe to content as a single entity. Can my IPs be amalgamated to just one organisation?

A6) Yes, we do not require a hierarchy to be created in any particular way. We prefer for the institutions themselves to tell us how they should be displayed and how their subscriptions should be reflected in theIPregistry.

Q7) How do I know which publishers are receiving my updates?

A7) When you log in to your organisation profile, you’ll see a list of all the publishers who are currently receiving your updates via theIPregistry.org. The list is growing and each time you sign-in you will see the latest list.

Q8) How do I add a publisher to my list?

A9) Each time a new publisher signs up to receive updates via theIPregistry they provide us with their list of customers, if you are on the list we add them to your list of publishers and they automatically start to receive your updates along with all of the other publishers on your list. This process has been designed to keep the workload for librarians down to an absolute minimum.

Q9) I’ve submitted changes to theIPregistry.org. Why don’t these changes show on the organisation profile?

A9) All changes are vetted and verified by theIPregistry team. You’ll receive an email to alert you whether the changes have been approved or rejected. Approved changes should be live on theIPregistry within 48 hours of submission. Rejected updates will be followed up by the team also within this timeframe.

Q10) Do I have to provide IP details in a specific format?

A10) TheIPregistry can accept CIDR or whichever format is easiest for our users to supply. We can also accept IPv6 as well as IPv4.

Q11) There are IPs in use at the library that we don’t want to send to publishers, for example those used for walk-in users. Can these be managed from within theIPregistry?

A11) You can add details of these IPs in the notes field for your organisation. This will allow all of your IPR users to be able to access the information. We will look at developing a separate category of IPs within the main IP management field in future.

Q12) Does theIPregistry.org only serve academic libraries? Or are you also serving other types of library?

A12) TheIPregistry.org provides a service for all libraries using IP address authentication to provide access for users. This includes academic, public, corporate and hospital libraries.

Q13) Our data protection officer has told me that IP addresses are personal data and cannot be shared so I don’t think we can use theIPregistry.org. Is this right?

A13) This is a common misconception, however, according to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) personal data is defined as “…information relating to a person (a ‘data subject’) who can be identified, directly or indirectly…”. IP addresses of organisations cannot be considered as personal information. This has been tested in the European court. In October 2016 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that “The dynamic internet protocol address of a visitor constitutes personal data, with respect to the operator of the website, if that operator has the legal means allowing it to identify the visitor concerned with additional information about him which is held by the internet access provider” (emphasis our own). We have also received direct clarification of this from the ICO. Only dynamic IP addresses, when used in conjunction with other data, such as logfiles, can be considered personal information. We do not hold any personal data related to users of the organisational IP addresses, nor do we have legal grounds to access this information.

The full ECJ press release can be seen at the following link:


Q14) Who is behind theIPregistry.org?

A14) TheIPregistry.org is run by PSI Ltd — a small, for-profit company based in Oxford, UK. PSI is the brainchild of Andrew and Justin who met while working for one of the larger society publishers. Working closely with both libraries and publishers at that time they recognised a number of problems facing the publishing industry that could only be overcome through communication, collaboration and innovation. One problem was the poor condition of IP Address data on publishing systems, whether on systems managed by publishers, platforms, subscription agents, or aggregators.  All of which pose specific concerns regarding usage reporting, security issues, and a host of related challenges. PSI’s objective in developing theIPregistry.org was to create a resource for publishers and libraries that addresses these issues.  In practical terms, the only way to do this was to create a cross industry initiative that works for publishers and libraries alike to eliminate the major inefficiencies inherent in the current system – namely multiple parties communicating, transmitting, re-entering, and editing complex strings of numbers.

Q15) What is the PSI block list?

A15) PSI has developed two block lists designed to help organisations protect themselves from various forms of cyber-crime. The Incoming block list is a list of IP addresses that have been identified as the source of phishing, spamming, hacking and other forms of cyber-crime. This block list can be passed your organisation’s IT department so they can block any activity originating from these IP addresses. This will reduce the number of phishing emails getting through to your network and help to protect your organisation from intrusions. The Outgoing block list is a list of domain names and IP addresses of sites that have been identified as malicious and/or illegal. This list can be used to prevent access to these sites from within your organisation.

These are questions that have been asked by librarians using theIPregistry.org. If you have questions that aren’t answered here please get in touch with us using [email protected]. You may see your question added to the list.

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“The University of Cambridge warmly supports the IP Registry initiative and looks forward to the greater efficiencies it will bring, not least in reducing the admin overhead with multiple publishers and in ensuring reliability for our usage statistics data”

“… we LOVE the work you are doing – such a great collaboration and time saver for all!”

“I’ve been following this project for a few years and think it was a stroke of genius. It will save a lot of time on my end for sure.”