UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

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.

The proxy server has changed - how and why?

In April 2012, the library made major changes to its proxy server, used for off-campus access to journal article databases and other licensed electronic resources. These changes prevent unauthorized access to licensed resources, improve efficiency, and also simplify setup requirements in most cases.

For most users, the change is transparent

The existing proxy URLs in current users' web browser settings will continue to work. For new users, revised setup instructions now give a single URL to use, whether they prefer the CalNet or Patron/PIN login method. A combined login screen provides a choice between these two methods.

Here's what may affect you

  1. The new proxy server requires that your web browser accept all cookies, including "third party cookies." If you would prefer not to do this, there are several alternatives:
    • Configure your browser to delete cookies on exit, and exit at the end of each web browsing session. You can also delete cookies manually whenever you like. Here are instructions for Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Safari for iPad.
    • Use a different browser when you access licensed resources. Configure it to use the proxy, and to accept all cookies.
    • In a browser that supports profiles, like Firefox, configure one profile for proxy use with all cookies allowed, and one for other use.
    • Instead of the proxy server, use the VPN (Virtual Private Network) system.
  2. To improve security, those using the Patron/PIN login method will now need to enter the email address associated with their library account. If you're not sure which email address you use for this purpose, log into My OskiCat and use the address displayed there.
  3. As with the previous proxy server, databases whose URLs begin with "https" will return an error message, unless you first visit an "http" resource such as the Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oed.com/)

For more information see the Connect from off-campus page.

If you encounter issues not resolved with the information above, please report them using Proxy Technical Problem Report form.

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 find out about library events and exhibits?

We have a calendar of events that lists classes, exhibits, readings and more from across the UCB libraries. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for several categories of events.

Can I recommend a library purchase?

Yes, please submit your suggestion via the Purchase Recommendation Form.

Can I use Zotero to save citations from OskiCat or Melvyl?

When you want to capture a reference in Zotero from a library catalog such as OskiCat or Melvyl:

  1. After completing your search, click on the full record of the item so that it is fully displayed on the page as a single entity.
  2. Open Zotero.  Three large windows will appear.  The first at the far left contains your library collections (where you create and store file folders).  The second is where individual references or "titles" are displayed.  The third is where the elements of the citation are displayed, and also offers the opportunity to annotate citations.
  3. To add a citation, go to the URL box at the top of the page.  If it’s a book, you should notice a tiny blue book icon located after the URL.  Other icons appear for different media.
  4. Click on that icon and the citation will automatically appear in the far right field of Zotero.

Visit the Library's Zotero research guide or the Zotero site for documentation, support, and tutorials.

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