UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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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 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.

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.

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).

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).

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.