UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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I want to see a newspaper from 1902. According to OskiCat, the Bancroft Library has an "archival negative" which is "restricted." Can the public come in and view the archival negative?

All archival and master negatives are indeed restricted and not for public use. However, the Library has positive copies of most negatives, and those are available to the public and also eligible for Interlibrary Loan with other institutions. The OskiCat record for Guatemala tidings, for example, shows the Library has two generations of negative film (with the status ASK REFERENCE , i.e., restricted) and also a positive service copy covering the same date range and having call number NEWSFILM-1 (with the status AVAILABLE).

But the Library also holds a large number of negatives for California newspapers with no positive copies. Even though OskiCat has records for these newspapers the negatives belong to UC Riverside and UC Berkeley doesn't hold matching positives (they are held by California State Library). As a good example, refer to the OskiCat record for Fall River Tidings: it says that the Library has a Bancroft negative BANC NMP 8064:17, the matching positive copy of which is available in Doe Library's Newspapers & Microforms as MICROFILM 78779; and two CNP negatives with call number 01-168 and with no matching positive. To get a hold of a positive film copy of the latter, contact CSL or CNP Microfilm Archive.

Why is Melvyl asking me to log in?

Melvyl, the discovery tool of the UC libraries, now includes millions of licensed journal articles. As a result, some off-campus users will now encounter login prompts when starting a search in Melvyl.  Anyone can still use Melvyl as a UC-wide and worldwide library catalog, but the licensed items are available only to those with UC Berkeley access privileges.

  • Those who use the library proxy server may see the same CalNet or PIN login prompt they normally see when going to a journal article or other licensed resource. This prompt will only appear if you haven't already used the proxy server in the current browser session. After logging in, you should be able to access journal articles and other licensed resources without further prompts.
  • Those who are connecting with the Virtual Private Network (VPN) system, and those whose computers are on the campus network (including AirBears2) do not get a login prompt when using Melvyl, and can continue to access journal articles and other licensed resources.
  • Off-campus users who are not using either the proxy server or VPN will see a login window when doing a search in Melvyl.

My book is late. How much am I being charged per day?

Like many things in the UCB Library, this all depends on the item in question and on the borrowing policies of the library you checked it out from (some charge daily fees, some don't). Please see the Pay Fines page for details.

You can renew items online in OskiCat to avoid overdue charges. If your item is damaged or lost, a borrower may replace lost or damaged materials with copies acceptable to the lending library. Arrangements should be made with the lending library before a replacement is purchased. The Library offers advice on how to find replacements for lost library books and serials.

Replacement costs ($150 default/book or the actual cost of the item, which ever is higher) and processing fees are charged for overdue materials that are not returned. Unpaid bills are forwarded to a collection agency. Direct all questions about bills, and blocked or revoked privileges to the Privileges Desk (Doe Library, floor 1).

May I use public computers in the library to pay my fines/fees?

Library computers have standard security settings. To avoid identity theft or other malicious activity, take precaution when sharing personal and confidential information (such as date of birth, address, telephone, credit card or social security numbers) online. For enhanced security, the Library recommends using your personal devices to pay library fees and fines.

How do I download a book from HathiTrust?

HathiTrust contains over 2.7 million fully viewable digital volumes, including books and journals important for student and faculty research. Some volumes in the HathiTrust Digital Library, however, are only available to search and are not available for download or to view in full.

Downloading PDFs from HathiTrust

  1. Go to www.hathitrust.org
  2. To limit your search to fully viewable items, check the box for Full view only from Catalog Search
  3. Select the full view link next to any item from your search results
  4. From the record view, select Download whole book (PDF) from the left column
  5. Click Login from the pop-up window.
  6. Choose the University of California, Berkeley from the drop down list and click Login
  7. Enter your CalNet ID and passphrase
  8. You will return to the full view record of the book. Select, once again, the Download whole book (PDF) link from the left column to download the PDF to your computer.

You can also find HathiTrust volumes that are available for download through OskiCat or Melvyl.

My AOL dialup or broadband connection drops when I connect to the VPN, or doesn't connect at all. What can I do?

The VPN client will not work with AOL dialup or AOL Broadband services. When connected to the VPN via AOL dialup service, the VPN client disconnects after a few seconds. This happens because of a "connection keep-alive" sent by AOL. When connected to the VPN, the AOL server doesn't recognize that the connection is now being sent through the VPN, and is lead to believe that the machine is no longer connected to its network. Since it no longer sees the client, it disconnects the session. This is expected behavior from AOL connected clients. AOL does not claim to provide any support for VPN on their infrastructure.

Solution: Use a different ISP if you need to connect to the UC Berkeley VPN.

I used VPN, then forgot to disconnect it. Is this a problem?

No, but while your VPN was connected, all your Internet traffic passed through the UC Berkeley VPN server. This slowed down your connection to Internet resources that did not require use of the VPN. The VPN software will "time out" after 30 minutes of no activity, but we recommend disconnecting it when you are finished with your session.

How long can I stay connected via VPN?

The VPN will automatically disconnect after your Internet connection is inactive for 30 minutes.

How do I remove the Library proxy from my browser?

If you have graduated, or are otherwise no longer affilliated with UC Berkeley, but continue to be prompted for your CalNet ID when trying to access certain online resources, you may need to remove the proxy server from your browser settings.

To turn off the UC Berkeley Library proxy:

  1. Select the setup instructions for your browser and operating system from the Library Proxy Server page.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the instructions and look for the heading, To turn off this setting.
  3. Follow the steps there to reset your browser to no longer use the UC Berkeley Library Proxy Server.

I tried to uninstall the VPN but it didn't work. What should I do?

Unfortunately this can happen for a number of reasons. Please contact the help services listed below.

Students: visit the Student Computer Consulting Service; you can make an appointment online.

Faculty and Staff: contact the IST Service Desk: itcsshelp@berkeley.edu; 510-664-9000, option 1, option 1, option 1
  Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.