UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Can I continue to print while connected to the VPN?

If the printer is physically attached to your computer, it should continue to work while your VPN connection is active.

If the printer is connected via a wireless or other Local Area Network, you will have to change a setting in the VPN client to "enable local LAN access".

You can also defer printing by choosing the "print to file" option to save the print stream on your computer, then print the resulting file after you disconnect from the VPN.

I use VPN but can't access licensed resources, or get incorrect results.

Products such as Google Web Accelerator and the Firefox plugin DownThemAll can make web pages load more quickly. However, they can also cause problems when using electronic information resources that the library subscribes to, such as journal article databases.

When you try to use these resources through a web accelerator, it comes between your computer and the website you are using, masking your UC Berkeley IP address and caching pages from the site for later use. Consequently, you may not get correct results or may not be able to log in at all. This can happen whether you are on or off campus, and even when you are using our proxy service or VPN.

For this reason, we recommend turning off your web accelerator before using our website, or setting it to ignore specific databases, etc. that you plan to use. Please see the Wikipedia article about Google Web Accelerator.

Can I use VPN through a firewall?

If you are having trouble connecting and have a firewall, you can test it by disabling the firewall and trying again.

If your computer is behind a firewall that restricts access by IP address, its settings may need to be modified to allow access via the VPN. For more information see this UC Berkeley IST Knowledge Base article.

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 service 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 UC 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 proxy server?

The proxy server provides access to most licensed resources. However, some programs do not work with the proxy server. These require VPN for off-campus use: ARTstor (Macintosh only), 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 proxy server requires a one-time change in your web browser settings, then prompts you when you need to log in. 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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