UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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.

What do I do when asked to log into the proxy server within a resource that uses frames?

If authentication becomes necessary while you are working with a resource that uses frames, the login form will be displayed within one of the resource's frames. Generally this is no problem, but sometimes it is displayed in a short or narrow frame where it is hard to read.

You can usually adjust the dimensions of the frame by dragging its boundaries with the mouse. Alternately, you can use your "Tab" key to move from one field to another within that frame.

How can I change my email address in my OskiCat account?

UCB faculty, staff and students:
Update your entry in the CalNet Directory, in two places:

  • Edit Person Information
  • Edit Address Information

IMPORTANT: Do not update your information through My OskiCat; this information will be overwritten by updates to the CalNet Directory.

Library cardholders: update your email address via My OskiCat.

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.

How do I cite an eBook in my paper?

Electronic books come in a variety of forms. Some are accessed through our catalogs and databases and read over the Internet on a computer screen. Others can be downloaded to a computer and in some cases to mobile devices.

As the technologies of eBooks are evolving, so are the formats for citing them in footnotes and bibliographies. Here are guides to citing eBooks in the three most common styles:

For more information, see:

Thanks to Purdue University for permission to use their citation guides.

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.

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. Each is assigned a unique call number based on its subject matter and other characteristics. Items on the same subject will often be grouped together.

Each call number consists of several elements. For example, consider:


  • The FIRST line, TK, is based on the broad subject of the book. Within Class T for technology, TK represents electrical engineering.
  • The SECOND line, 7881.6, defines the subject matter more finely. When looking for the book, read this as a whole number with a decimal component. In this example, TK7881.6 represents magnetic recording (a subdivision of TK— electrical engineering).
  • The THIRD line, M29, usually indicates author, but may also represent a further subject subdivision, geographic area, etc. There may also be a fourth line, formatted the same way. When looking for the book, read the numeric component as if it were preceded by a decimal point. In the example above, the numeric part of M29 should be read as ".29" (and the call number TK7881.6 M29 comes before TK7881.6 M4).
  • The YEAR of publication, such as 1993, may also be present. These file in chronological order and often indicate successive editions of a book. The call number may also have additional elements, such as volume numbers.

In using a call number to locate a book on the shelf, consider each element in turn before moving on to the next segment.

These call numbers are arranged as they should appear on the shelves. In each case, the element shown in boldface distinguishes the number from the preceding one:


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 "UC 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