UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

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. Please see the guide How to Read Call Numbers.

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

Why are there so many journal articles in Melvyl?

Several million journal articles and other documents from a wide range of databases, particularly in the humanities and social sciences have been added to Melvyl, the discovery tool of the UC libraries.

Some important tips:

  • Links in the left sidebar let you narrow your search to just articles, or to focus on items from particular databases.
  • Melvyl will display citations to articles, and in some cases abstracts, with the full text accessible through the yellow UC-eLinks button or other links provided.
  • The Advanced Search screen lets you control which databases are searched.
  • Search results may vary from what could be obtained by searching the individual databases separately.
  • The additional licensed content is available to those on the UC Berkeley campus, or who are connecting from elsewhere using our proxy server or Virtual Private Network (VPN) system. Other off-campus users may see a login prompt, with a "continue as guest" option which will still let them search library holdings in Melvyl.

Use Melvyl as a traditional catalog (i.e., remove articles from search results)

  1. Click on Advanced Search
  2. Click on Add/Remove databases
  3. Click on clear all
  4. Check the box for WorldCat
  5. Click on Save Selections

For more information, see:

Does the library offer exam proctoring?

The UC Berkeley Libraries do not provide exam proctoring services.

Public libraries that offer proctoring free of charge:

Venues that charge a fee for proctoring:

Proctoring for specific groups:

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 is UC-eLinks, and how do I use it?

UC-eLinks helps you get articles listed in many of our article databases. Look for a button or link embedded next to each item in the search results:

UC-eLinks

Clicking on UC-eLinks may take you directly to the article, to the journal's homepage, or it may open up a menu that lets you:

  • Get the full text of the article if it's available in one of our connected databases.
  • Search for printed copies through our library catalogs, OskiCat and Melvyl.
  • Request an article through Interlibrary Loan, if UC Berkeley doesn't have it.
  • Ask a librarian for help.

Things to note:

  • Some databases don't include UC-eLinks.
  • Options available for any particular article may vary.
  • If UC-eLinks doesn't do what you expect, ask a librarian.

For details, see Getting Started with UC-eLinks.

If you want a particular article and already have a citation (at least the journal title and date), you can save time by entering it directly into the Citation Linker, powered by UC-eLinks.

How do I pay my library fines/fees online?

  1. Go to http://oskicat.berkeley.edu.
  2. Click on the “My OskiCat” link and log in.
  3. After logging in, click on the unpaid fines and bills link.
  4. Click on the Pay Now button to get a summary of the charges. Users can select all or individual invoice(s) to pay. Please note that partial payment of an individual charge cannot be made.
  5. Click the Pay Now button to access the PayPal website to enter credit card/personal information and complete the transaction. Once payment is approved a confirmation window will open. An email message with receipt will be sent to the user’s email address.
  6. Close the confirmation window and return to the fines to be paid page.
  7. Refresh the page to have payment reflected on the screen. Please note that PayPal will notify you if there is an error in the processing of payment.

Why scanning stations?

As part of the transition when the Library’s previous copy service contract expired in 2010, we surveyed our users about their needs and other university libraries about their services. Based on that input, the Library chose to acquire equipment that allowed for scanning/downloading and develop services similar to those in other libraries.

Scanning to a flash drive is free. The Library provides printing at rates that cover our costs for the equipment and staff who maintain them.

The ability to scan to a flash drive saves paper and enables users to store and organize their material more efficiently. Scans can be delivered in multiple file types, at a lower cost than photocopies. Our prices for printing are consistent with, and in some cases lower than, those in other UC libraries.

I'd like to donate books to the library. How do I arrange that?

The Library will gratefully consider all gifts of recorded information which meet the instructional and research needs of the Berkeley academic community. Questions about gifts to the Library should be directed to Dirk Kennedy.

Please see Book Donations to the University Library regarding criteria for acceptance, tax and appraisal considerations, and other information.

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