UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Can I use VPN on a Linux machine?

Yes. According to the campus IST Cisco VPN page, the client is available for the Linux platform. At this time the Library does not provide any installation instructions for Linux.

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.

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: 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can I use VPN from a home network?

As long as your web browser supports SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), as most browsers do, VPN should work if your computer connects to the Internet via a home network. It has been used successfully with a number of wireless routers, such as Linksys, Netgear, Belkin, and Apple Airport Base Station (except the Graphite model).

I'm having problems with library research for a class. Where can I get help?

The guides and tutorials page is a great place to start.

Looking for individual guidance? Our information experts provide research help via email, 24/7 chat, telephone, and in person.

Want to go into more depth? Cal undergrads can sign up online for a free 30-minute Research Advisory Service appointment.

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