Frequently Asked Questions

Back to Ask A Librarian page


Q: How can I find a book at the UCSC libraries?

A: Search for the book in CRUZCAT, the UCSC Library Catalog. Patrons can search by keyword, author, title, or subject. The results screen will tell you the location, call number, and whether or not the book is checked out. If the location begins with "McH" that means McHenry Library, and if it says "S&E" that means the Science & Engineering Library. For more help on other locations and statuses you might see, please consult our call number guide.

Q: How do I find online articles?

A: If you want to find articles on a particular topic, take a look at the research guides created by UCSC Librarians and staff specialists. Many of the databases have links to online full text using the UC-eLinks icon UC-eLinks graphic. Not sure which database to search?  If you already have the full citation for the article (journal name, date, and page number) you can use Citation Linker to find it online or search in CRUZCAT to find its call number and location in the library. You can also


Q: Where are the journals in the library?

A: McHenry Library shelves current journal issues alongside the older issues in the stacks. The Science & Engineering Library shelves current journals separately on shelves on the second (main) floor, near the Reference Desk and directly across from the Circulation/Checkout Desk. Older volumes of journals at the Science & Engineering Library are bound and shelved in the S&E stacks by call number. "Stacks" means bookshelves. The call numbers for all journals can be found in CRUZCAT. Search for the journal by title.


Q: CRUZCAT says a book is "in process". What does that mean?

A: "In process" means the library has received the book but we're not finished cataloging and labeling it. To obtain access to these items, see the Circulation Desk staff to arrange for a “TIP" (title in process) Request. See Cruzcat Status Codes for explanations of other statuses.


Q: How can I search the library databases for journal and newspaper articles from off campus?

A: Electronic journals and databases are licensed by the University Library, and only UCSC students, faculty, and staff are allowed to access them from off campus. Anyone can access the resources by coming to the libraries in person. There are two ways to connect to these resources:

1. Use on-campus computers. All campus buildings including the libraries, offices, classrooms, dorms, and ResNet have full access to licensed online resources.

2. Off-campus patrons using a commercial internet service provider (such as Comcast or CRUZIO) will use Off-Campus Access (OCA). This service will ask you to login with your library card number the first time you click on a link for a licensed resource. You'll remain authenticated until you quit your browser. For further information, see the Off-Campus FAQ or send us a question using the form above. Or, go directly to the OCA login page.



Q: Can someone help me with my EndNote or EndNote Web questions?

Check the EndNote Web help pages. If you encounter problems with EndNote Web and the library’s databases you can get help at Ask A Librarian.


Q: I'm not a current UCSC student or faculty member, can I still borrow a book from the UCSC Library?

UC Alumni, concurrent enrollment students and members of other groups have limited borrowing privileges for UCSC materials. Check the chart on the borrowing privileges page to see if you are eligible for a library card. If you live in California you may also become a Friend of the UCSC Library, which entitles you to a library card and borrowing privileges. Check the Friends of the Library site for more information. If you live outside California and would like to obtain materials from our collection, your best bet is to request the materials through interlibrary loan from your campus or local library.


Q: I am faculty/staff member and when I try to use my library barcode it says it's expired. I have indefinite status -- what should I do?

If you attempt to renew your items online and your card is expired then you will see this message:

You cannot renew items because:
* Your registration has expired. Contact the library circulation desk with questions about your circulation record at 831-459-5185 or 831-459-5300, or by emailing circulation (at)

If you attempt to login through Off-Campus Access (OCA) then you will see this message:

CARD EXPIRED: Your library account has expired. EXPIRED LIBRARY ACCOUNT: If you have received this message in error, or you would like information on renewing your library account, please contact the University Library circulation desk. FOR ADDITIONAL HELP
If you have questions about your library account, contact the McHenry Library or the Science & Engineering Library Circulation Desk at 831-459-5185 or 831-459-5300.

In the case of faculty/staff members with indefinite appointments, library accounts expire once a year, at which time faculty/staff members may contact the Circulation Desk to update their contact information and renew their items. Their library account expiration dates will then be extended for an additional year. Please contact the McHenry Circulation Desk by calling 831-459-5185, or the Science & Engineering Library Circulation Desk by calling 831-459-5300.

If you are a lecturer with a non-consecutive teaching assignment, please visit the library card information page.


Q: Can I borrow videos and DVDs from the library?

A: Students, UCSC staff, and community members may watch videos and DVDs in the Media Center on the ground floor of McHenry Library. Faculty may check out videos for instructional purposes. See the Media Center site for more information.


Q: Where can I listen to sound recordings or watch movies?

A: Films, videotapes, laserdiscs, and DVDs of motion pictures--as well as sound recordings on LP, compact disc, or audiocassette--are located in the Media Center, located on the ground floor of McHenry Library. The Media Center contains multimedia CD-ROMs, the language listening stations and language tape duplicating services, and features viewing and listening stations.


Q: Does the library charge for printing?

A: Yes, printing from library computers costs $.12 per side. Students may charge their printing to their UCSC account by logging into any public workstation with their CruzID Blue login. Other patrons may pay for print jobs after establishing a printing account from any public workstation.  See the printing resources FAQ for more details.

Contact Laura McClanathan (