UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Which web browser should I use for the proxy server?

A browser that supports an Automatic Proxy Configuration feature is required. We recommend that you use a modern browser for which security updates are provided, such as Firefox 10+, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8+, Google Chrome 17+, or Safari 4+.

Will the proxy server monitor my regular Internet use?

No. Automatic Proxy Configuration causes your browser to request only the Library's licensed electronic resources (as listed in a file that is loaded into your computer when the browser starts up) through the proxy server. It lets the browser send all other requests directly over the Internet. Thus, your personal use of web pages, e-mail, chat, etc. are not recorded or observed by the proxy server.

Will other people who share my computer also be able to use the proxy server?

If your computer is accessible to other people in your household or off-campus work site, we recommend that you either delete your browser's cookies or log out by clicking on this logout link.

This will protect your privacy and prevent others from using licensed resources under your login. When the browser is restarted, you will be required to log in again before using the proxy server.

Can I use the proxy server from behind a firewall?

Many companies have firewalls to prevent outsiders from accessing their internal networks. If your computer is behind such a firewall, you may not be able to use the proxy service.

Some ISP's use firewalls or caching servers to minimize the amount of data their servers have to obtain from sites on the internet, thus increasing their apparent speed. In this situation, your browser may not be able to engage the Library's proxy server.

In either case, your system administrator should be able to clarify whether a firewall is blocking your access, and to discuss options with you.

As internet security has become a major problem, many users are choosing to run personal firewalls on their own computers. Some users have implemented firewall products such as Black Ice, Zone Alarm, and Symantec without negatively effecting their use of the proxy server. However, it is possible that the presence of a personal firewall may interfere with the browser's ability to access the proxy server.

If your browser is configured correctly but fails to engage the proxy server, this may be due to the presence of a personal firewall. If you are willing to run your system without the firewall, you may be able to determine whether this is the problem by turning the firewall off.

Some users have reported that wireless routers may also interfere with the browser's ability to access the proxy server. Clearly not all wireless routers have this effect. You may be able to determine whether the wireless router is the cause by disabling the wireless, and connecting by means of a conventional wire.

The Library is unable to provide specific recommendations for configuring wireless routers or personal firewall hardware or software.

Will the proxy server slow down my connection?

No. The proxy server will only be used when you attempt to access a website that requires a UC Berkeley IP Address. Once you log in and gain permission to access the site, the proxy server will not perform any actions that use your bandwidth. In other words, it should not affect your download times at all.

Will the proxy server work with my Internet connection?

The proxy server will work with DSL, cable, ISDN, or dial-up modem connections from most third party Internet Service Providers (AT&T, Comcast, Earthlink, etc.).

If you connect to the Internet through a firewall, you may experience problems.

You do not need the proxy server if your computer is connected to the Internet through the UC Berkeley network in a campus building or residence hall, or via AirBears2.

If you connect to the Internet through CalVisitor, you will not be able to access licensed library resources, or use the Library Proxy Server to access licensed library resources.

Which resources can I use through the proxy server?

The proxy server provides off-campus access to electronic resources licensed by the UC Berkeley Library. These include article databases, e-journals, e-books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, numeric data, and other premium online resources available through our website and catalogs.

You can locate many of these via the Databases link on the Library website, or through links in the library catalogs (look for "Electronic Locations" or "Available online").

Some resources are not available through the proxy server, generally because they operate through specific software on your computer rather than through the web. These include 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. UC Berkeley users can access these resources from off campus through our VPN (Virtual Private Network) system.

Why does the proxy server sometimes ask me to log in when I'm not accessing a licensed library resource?

Many online information vendors use several servers within the same internet domain to provide their services. In such cases, the Library proxy is active for the entire domain to ensure that all these resources are available to the campus community.

Sometimes sites which are available freely to the public and would not require the proxy are served from within the same internet domain as sites which require a license. Therefore, if your browser is configured to use the proxy server, you may be asked to log in to access such a site.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If it becomes bothersome, you can turn off the proxy setting in your browser (for details on how to do this, consult the setup instructions).

Why do I see warnings about going from secure to insecure (and vice versa) connections when logging into the proxy server with my CalNet ID?

Authentication via the CalNet proxy server is a complex process, involving several redirections of your browser between the proxy server and the campus authentication server, which use different security protocols. If your browser is set to warn you upon entering or leaving a secure environment, you may see such a warning when going through the steps of this process.

You do not need to worry about these messages. The only exchange of confidential information takes place when you enter your CalNet ID and passphrase, and that exchange is encrypted and highly secure. Your ID and passphrase are seen only by the campus's authentication server and are not transmitted back over the Internet, so your confidential information cannot be observed by any unauthorized third party.

You may be able to change your browser's security settings to eliminate these warning messages. However, please read the browser's help documentation carefully to make sure you understand the implications of this change.

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).

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