UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

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.

How is VPN different from the library proxy?

The library proxy provides access to most licensed resources. However, some programs do not work with the proxy. These require VPN for off-campus use: Luna Insight, the java client in UC Image Service, Loeb Classical Library Online, and the Connect function in EndNote.

Another difference is that the VPN is a "client" software program that you download and install on your computer. You must run the VPN client each time you want to use licensed resources.

When should I use the proxy server or VPN?

Most electronic resources are licensed by The Library from companies in business for profit. The terms of our contracts with these companies stipulate that The Library allow only Berkeley faculty, students and staff to use these materials.

Consequently, when you are off campus you will not be able to access many of the online journals and databases that you could access while on campus, unless you use the Library proxy server or Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Note: For technical and contractual reasons there may be some resources that are not accessible from off campus at all.

Who can use VPN?

To download and run the VPN software, you must be a current UC Berkeley student, faculty, or staff member with a CalNet ID.

Persons not affiliated with UC Berkeley cannot use the VPN system, but can use licensed electronic resources via public computers in the libraries. For more information, see connect from off-campus.

What is VPN?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that runs on your off-campus computer. After you log in with your CalNet ID and passphrase, VPN establishes a secure "tunnel" to the UC Berkeley network. When you use a VPN connection, your computer will have a UC Berkeley IP address instead of the one normally supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This allows you to use article databases, electronic journals, and other licensed resources found through the Library website and catalogs.

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 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.

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.

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