UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Who installs the VPN software?

You, the user. At home, on your personal computer, you are responsible for selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP), coordinating installation, and installing any required software. This includes the VPN client. You should not need to use the VPN from an on-campus computer.

How do I start up VPN?

Please see the VPN nstructions for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computers.

Can I set up the VPN client to automatically connect at startup?

No, the Cisco VPN client cannot automate the login process.

How do I access library resources from off campus?

Anyone may access the library catalogs and most of the Library's web pages from any Internet-connected computer.

Some licensed electronic resources, such as e-books, journal article databases, and online reference tools, are commercial products with access restrictions.  UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff members, and some other individuals affiliated with the University, can connect to these resources from off campus using the library proxy or VPN.

For more information and setup instructions, see connect from Off Campus.

What is VPN?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that runs on your off-campus computer. After you log in with your CalNet ID and passphrase, VPN establishes a secure "tunnel" to the UC Berkeley network. When you use a VPN connection, your computer will have a UC Berkeley IP address instead of the one normally supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This allows you to use article databases, electronic journals, and other licensed resources found through the Library website and catalogs.

Who can use VPN?

To download and run the VPN software, you must be a current UC Berkeley student, faculty, or staff member with a CalNet ID.

Persons not affiliated with UC Berkeley cannot use the VPN system, but can use licensed electronic resources via public computers in the libraries. For more information, see connect from off-campus.

When should I use the proxy server or VPN?

Most electronic resources are licensed by The Library from companies in business for profit. The terms of our contracts with these companies stipulate that The Library allow only Berkeley faculty, students and staff to use these materials.

Consequently, when you are off campus you will not be able to access many of the online journals and databases that you could access while on campus, unless you use the Library proxy server or Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Note: For technical and contractual reasons there may be some resources that are not accessible from off campus at all.

How is VPN different from the library proxy?

The library proxy provides access to most licensed resources. However, some programs do not work with the proxy. These require VPN for off-campus use:  JSTOR (Mac OS X), Luna Insight, the java client in UC Image Service, Loeb Classical Library Online, and the Connect function in EndNote.

Another difference is that the VPN is a "client" software program that you download and install on your computer. You must run the VPN client each time you want to use licensed resources.

Can I use VPN with any web browser?

VPN will work with any standard web browser that supports SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) - for example, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Safari. It will work over most types of Internet connection, except AOL.

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