UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Why scanning stations?

As part of the transition when the Library’s previous copy service contract expired in 2010, we surveyed our users about their needs and other university libraries about their services. Based on that input, the Library chose to acquire equipment that allowed for scanning/downloading and develop services similar to those in other libraries.

Scanning to a flash drive is free. The Library provides printing at rates that cover our costs for the equipment and staff who maintain them.

The ability to scan to a flash drive saves paper and enables users to store and organize their material more efficiently. Scans can be delivered in multiple file types, at a lower cost than photocopies. Our prices for printing are consistent with, and in some cases lower than, those in other UC libraries.

I'd like to donate books to the library. How do I arrange that?

The Library will gratefully consider all gifts of recorded information which meet the instructional and research needs of the Berkeley academic community. Questions about gifts to the Library should be directed to Dirk Kennedy.

Please see Book Donations to the University Library regarding criteria for acceptance, tax and appraisal considerations, and other information.

Does the library offer exam proctoring?

The UC Berkeley Libraries do not provide exam proctoring services.

Public libraries that offer proctoring free of charge:

Venues that charge a fee for proctoring:

Proctoring for specific groups:

  • UC Berkeley students with disabilities
    The Disabled Students Program offers proctoring services.
    To arrange for this, contact your professor or GSI.
  •  

Why are there so many journal articles in Melvyl?

Several million journal articles and other documents from a wide range of databases, particularly in the humanities and social sciences have been added to Melvyl, the discovery tool of the Berkeley libraries.

Some important tips:

  • Links in the left sidebar let you narrow your search to just articles, or to focus on items from particular databases.
  • Melvyl will display citations to articles, and in some cases abstracts, with the full text accessible through the yellow Berkeley-eLinks button or other links provided.
  • The Advanced Search screen lets you control which databases are searched.
  • Search results may vary from what could be obtained by searching the individual databases separately.
  • The additional licensed content is available to those on the UC Berkeley campus, or who are connecting from elsewhere using our proxy server or Virtual Private Network (VPN) system. Other off-campus users may see a login prompt, with a "continue as guest" option which will still let them search library holdings in Melvyl.

Use Melvyl as a traditional catalog (i.e., remove articles from search results)

  1. Click on Advanced Search
  2. Click on Add/Remove databases
  3. Click on clear all
  4. Check the box for WorldCat
  5. Click on Save Selections

For more information, see:

How do I pay a fine?

Payment of outstanding Library fines, fees and charges may now be paid:

For more information, see Pay Fines.

For other questions about this process, please contact privdesk@library.berkeley.edu

  • On-line via My OskiCat.
  • In-person at the Privileges Desk (1st floor, Doe Library)
    • Pay with a credit/debit card or check
  • By mail
    • Your check must be made payable to "Berkeley REGENTS" in the exact amount outstanding, with your student ID number written in the notes field.
    • Mail to:
      Privileges Desk
      198 Gardner Stacks
      University of California, Berkeley
      Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

How do I use the call numbers to find a book in the stacks?

Books and journals are arranged on our shelves according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Please see the guide How to Read Call Numbers.

Can I get New York Times articles through the library?

In April 2011, the New York Times implemented a "paywall" on its website, nytimes.com. Under this policy [full details here], users can view a maximum of 20 articles per month without charge, but need to purchase a "digital subscription" to go beyond that limit.

Discounted individual subscription rates are available to students, faculty, and staff with email addresses ending in ".edu".

Beyond that, UC Berkeley is not able to provide special campuswide access to the nytimes.com website. However, we do subscribe to several databases that include full text articles from the New York Times along with many other newspapers. For links to these, see our News Databases.

These are available to anyone using our public computers. UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff members can also connect from off campus.

For those wishing to read the Times on paper, the Morrison Library and the Newspapers & Microforms Library both have current issues.

Can members of the public access materials from NRLF?

The Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) is a cooperative library storage site owned and operated by the University of California in Richmond, CA.

Members of the public can visit the NRLF Reading Room with a government issued ID (driver's license, state issued ID, passport) to access NRLF materials on-site. To ensure materials will be available at the time of their visit patrons are encouraged to email nrlfreq@library.berkeley.edu in advance with their specific material requests.

Members of the public with a government issued ID (driver's license, state issued ID, passport) can also request materials from the NRLF in person at the Circulation Desk in Doe Library (see below for exceptions). Patrons are encouraged to call the Circulation Desk at (510) 643-4431 before their visit to ensure that specific items will be accessible for library use. Items requested at the Circulation Desk in Doe Library before 10am will be available to view after 4pm on the same day. Items requested after 10am will be available after 4pm the next business day. NRLF deliveries are Monday-Friday only. Items requested after 10am on Friday will be available after 4pm the following Monday.

NRLF items listed in OskiCat with a Restricted Use status may not be available to members of the public via the Circulation Desk in Doe Library. Please contact the Circulation Desk for the Library listed in the OskiCat Location field to inquire about accessing any restricted use NRLF item.

Members of the public and UC Affiliates cannot request materials in OskiCat with the location of Bancroft (NRLF) or UC Archives (NRLF) in person. The Bancroft Library is a non-circulating library and archives. These materials should be requested using the Bancroft request link and all materials must be consulted in the Heller Reading Room. Members of the public and UC affiliates will need to create an account in the Bancroft’s online registration system. Please see detailed instructions on how to register to use materials. Please note that it can take up to 3 days for materials to arrive at Bancroft from NRLF. Please plan accordingly.

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.

How do I find a dissertation from UC Berkeley?

The ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database indexes graduate dissertations from over a thousand graduate school and universities, and includes full-text access to dissertations published since 1997. The database also includes full-text dissertations from the University of California from:

  • September 1962 - December 1970 and
  • December 1975 - present

If you can't find a specific UC Berkeley dissertation on ProQuest, go to OskiCat and choose to limit your search to "Dissertations/Theses" using the dropdown on the far right of the search page:

If you're not on campus, and you are not a UC Berkeley student, faculty or staff member, you may be able to access UC Berkeley dissertations for a fee from ProQuest's Dissertation Express or, for items in our collection, using our photoduplication services.

See also: all electronic dissertation and thesis resources at UC Berkeley.

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