UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:


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.

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.

Do library computers have programs like MatLab, SPSS, Stata, Stat/Transfer, ArcGIS, and Microsoft Office applications installed?

  • The Data Lab in Doe Library offers full access to ARCGIS, R, SAS, SPSS, Stat Transfer, and Stata to students needing to use and manipulate numeric data sets, as well as a scanner available to any researcher:
  • Many UC Berkeley libraries provide word processing and desktop applications on public computers (CalNet ID required). See the list of software on public computers.
  • Workstation & Microcomputer Facilities around campus, including on the first floor of Moffitt Library, also provide wordprocessing and desktop applications. Check the W&MF website for locations and to see what's available at each location.
  • Students, faculty and staff can also purchase educational copies of many software programs from the campus at Software Central

Doe Library and Annex floor 1