UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Why do I have to configure my browser to accept cookies?

Sending cookies to your browser is how the proxy identifies you as an authenticated user who should have access to licensed resources.

What is the proxy server?

The proxy server allows us to provide off-campus access to article databases and other licensed electronic resources to authorized UC Berkeley users, while ensuring we don't provide them to unauthorized users, as required by the terms of our license agreements.

To do this, the proxy server acts as an intermediary between your computer and the Library's licensed electronic resources by virtually providing your machine with a UC Berkeley IP address, as if you were on campus. It is active only when you are accessing these resources.

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.

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.

Materials in OskiCat with the location of Bancroft (NRLF) or UC Archives (NRLF) should be requested by members of the public by calling the Bancroft Reference Desk during normal library hours at (510) 642-6481.

How will I know when to use the proxy server?

Once you set up your web browser to run the Automatic Proxy Configuration, it will be engaged automatically when needed. You will not have to decide when the proxy server is to be used.

When I try to access a website, I'm prompted for a username and password. What do I use?

To ensure that only authorized people use the proxy server, you will need to "authenticate" yourself by logging in before you use a licensed resource.

The proxy login screen will present two options for login:

  • CalNet method: This uses the CalNet ID, the campuswide identifier for UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. The login requires a personalized ID and "passphrase" chosen by the user. For more information, visit the CalNet website.
  • or
  • Patron/PIN method: This uses the number from the person's Cal 1 Card, or Library card issued by our Privileges Desk. The login also requires a Library PIN (Personal Identification Number), which can be set within OskiCat, the UC Berkeley Library catalog, and the email address associated with your patron record.

If you have access to both kinds of login, choose whichever you prefer. Once you're authenticated by either method, the proxy's behavior is the same.

Your authentication will automatically expire after 4 hours without any use of the proxy.

If you see a screen with a vendor's logo and a prompt to log in or to subscribe to the database, this indicates that your proxy setup is not configured correctly, or in effect. Double-check your settings, and see our Library Proxy Server page for more help.

Does the VPN work on mobile devices?

VPN works on iOS devices such as the iPad, and should work on "netbooks" and other portable Windows and Macintosh computers. VPN clients are also available for some (but not all) Android devices. See our VPN for Android instructions.

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.

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