Wolbach Library: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do you have a question that is not answered here? Please Ask A Library
How do I access online journals?
The Library uses a proxy server to access online journals to which we
subscribe. Our contracts with the publishers require that we limit access
only to authorized users within our institution, and the proxy server is
the best way to do this. By using a proxy server, resources may be
accessed from any physical location, enabling you to work from home,
access journals while you are away at conferences, observing, or at any
other location. Library staff gather and analyze usage data from the
proxy server to make better decisions about resource expenditures. We
also obtain accurate information when occasional problems arise, such as
breaches of our contracts with publishers resulting from excessive,
systematic downloading of articles.
Journals have been accessible through the proxy server for
years now, but direct access through a few publisher's website
lingered on, bypassing the proxy server. This direct access
is no longer available, so you will need to use the URLs listed
on the journals page of the Library's
website to access journals, and enter your ID and PIN when prompted.
How can I have access to full text journal
articles through our library subscriptions when using ADS?
The ADS provides free access to the full text copies in its article archive, which includes most older publications in astronomy, but more recent literature is only available from the publishers through the Library's paid subscriptions. In order to use the ADS and have access to all on-line journals to which the Wolbach Library has paid subscriptions, it is necessary to set up your preferences in the ADS to include the proxy servers that enable access for CfA users as follows:
- Sign into ADS with your email address, or create a new ADS account for yourself if you don't already have one: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/manage_account?Man_cmd=login
- Go to the ADS account management page: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/manage_account?man_cmd=account Click on "Library Links Settings." The resulting page should have the field for the Library Link server already set to "Harvard University Library." If not, use the pulldown menu at the bottom of the page to select the proper settings, and click on "Save Settings" below it. This step will enable links to the fulltext of a paper via the familiar "Fin it@Harvard" buttons when viewing an ADS record with full-text availability.
- We also recommend that you set your ADS preferences to include the University's proxy server as an alternate way to get to the fulltext in case the library link server does not properly locate the article. You can do so by going to the ADS abstract preference settings page: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/pref_set?2&abs_proxy=http://adsabs.harvard.edu.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/ The resulting page should have the field for "Abstract Service Proxy" set to http://adsabs.harvard.edu.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/ . Go to the bottom of the page and click on "Save Settings." If prompted for username and password, please enter your HCO/SAO ID and PIN to complete the procedure.
- You can now use the ADS from the usual web addresses:
ADS Home Page: http://ads.harvard.edu
ADS Abstract Service: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html
If not signed in yet, simply click on the link on the top-right corner of these pages to have the system use your newly updated linking preferences. However, when following links from pages generated by ADS that point to a publisher's web page, you will be directred to teh proper proxy service in order to have authorized access to the full text. Please note that because of this you will periodically need to enter your ID and PIN to authenticate yourself.
How can I have access to full text
journals using ADS when working from home?
Set up an ADS account and preferences as discussed in the previous step, and then simply log into the ADS with the email address used to create the account. The ADS will then know what to do when liks to external content are followed, and will proxy the requests throught the Harvard Library proxy servers. You will need to enter your ID and PIN to authenticate yourserlf, after which you will be granted access to all of the electronic resources as if you were at work.
- How can I browse the tables of contents of
the current issue of astronomical journals?
Some publishers offer "Tables of Contents" email alerts to announce
the contents of the current issues of some journals. The links
within these email messages will not work to view full text articles,
since we use a proxy server to control access to electronic journals.
We suggest that you either access journals using the links on
the journals page of the Library's
website, or use the ADS TOC
service page at this address: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/ast_toc.html Once on that page make sure you have logged into your ADS account so that you will have access to the fulltext via the library proxy.
How do I request a PIN to use new features
of the HOLLIS Catalog and access restricted electronic resources?
Many features of the HOLLIS Catalog and electronic resources
that are available to the Harvard and CfA communities require
a valid Harvard or SAO ID and a Harvard-assigned PIN.
Please follow these instructions to obtain your PIN now. NOTE:
There are slightly different procedures for Harvard and SAO
- Go to http://www.pin.harvard.edu
- Click on "Request a New Harvard University PIN"
- In the "HUID (first 8 digits)" field, enter the ID number
printed on your Harvard or SAO ID card.
- In the "Last name" field, enter your last name.
- In the "Date of Birth" field, follow these instructions
depending on the type of ID you have:
- Harvard ID holders (including those who also have an
SAO ID): Enter your date of birth as indicated on the
- SAO ID holders who do not also have a Harvard ID: Enter
your actual month and day of birth, but enter the year
2000 instead of your actual year of birth (MM/DD/2000).
This is because of a Smithsonian Institution policy that
prohibits the distribution of employees' full birth dates.
All SAO birth years have been set to 2000 in the Harvard
University ID database. (NOTE: If you were employed at the CfA prior to January 1, 2008, use the year 1900 as your birthyear.)
- Click "Request New PIN" and follow the instructions on the
- If you have any problems obtaining a PIN, please contact
the Library at email@example.com
Do I have to come to the Library in person
to renew the books I have checked out?
You may renew library materials remotely (online, phone) up
to five times, after which materials must be renewed in person.
- Online renewals: http://holliscatalog.harvard.edu
(click on "Your Account" to log in)
- Phone renewals: 617-496-5769 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am -
6:00pm), voicemail messages not accepted.
Can you tell me who has this book checked
out so that I can borrow it from him or her?
No. The Wolbach Library follows the official Harvard University
Libraries policy regarding the confidentiality of patron records,
In accordance with the American Library Association
policy on the confidentiality of library records,...information
relating to what an individual has checked out...is private
information. Positive identification must always be required
of a person requesting information concerning materials he or
she has on loan....Under no circumstances should a library
staff member reveal to anyone other than the patron in question
the identity of a person who has a certain book checked out.
Likewise, recall and "on hold" information should be considered
to be private information and should never be made public.
Newsletter, vol.10, no.10, October 1995 (Harvard access
To request books that are checked out, use the "request" link
that appears in the "Availability" screen of the material's record
in the HOLLIS Catalog.
How do I get 24-hour access to the Library?
(Also known as: My card doesn't work!)
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and Harvard College
Observatory (HCO) Employees and Official Visitors, Harvard Astronomy
Department Graduate Students and other Center for Astrophysics
(CfA) affiliates who have a current entry in the CfA Staff Database
are eligible for 24-hour access to the Library.
How do I borrow books or get copies of articles
from other libraries?
CfA staff and Harvard Astronomy graduate students may obtain
materials not available in the Wolbach Library collection through
interlibrary loan. There is a material request form on this website. Harvard undergraduate
students should request interlibrary loans through their undergraduate
How do I find SPIE proceedings in the HOLLIS
To view a list of SPIE proceedings in the HOLLIS Classic
Catalog in volume number order, follow these instructions:
- Select Search
- Browse for Series=proceedings of spie
- Click Sorted Index next to the "Proceedings of SPIE"
entry to see a list of proceedings in volume number order
- If you know the volume number you want, type it in the Jump
to Text box in the format v. nnn and click Jump
Can I return this book that I checked out
from another Harvard Library at the Wolbach Library?
Yes. There is a Harvard University Libraries Messenger Service
which transports materials between Harvard Libraries.
Can I use other Harvard Libraries with my
Admittance to the Harvard Libraries by holders of SAO IDs is controlled by the Harvard Libraries Access Services Department. If you encounter any issues when attempting to swipe into Widener or Lamont with your Smithsonian Harvard ID card, please go to the Privileges office, Room 130 in Widener, and the staff there will arrange to have your card coded correctly for entry. If for some reason the Privileges office is closed or if you'd prefer to call or email ahead of time, the Privileges staff can be reached at 617-495-4166 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I use the MIT University Libraries with
my Harvard or SAO ID?
CfA staff members with valid Harvard or SAO IDs may request
MIT University Libraries privileges at the Wolbach Library.
The science libraries at MIT and Harvard have established a
reciprocal agreement which allows staff at both institutions
to use each others' libraries. Please contact
the Wolbach Library for more information on this procedure.
How do I make photocopies at the Wolbach
There are two photocopiers in the Library. One is designed specifically for books as well as documents and the other does regular copying, has a document feeder and also has a USB port for scanning to and from a jump/flash drive . These photocopiers are free for the CfA community.
Is there parking available at the Wolbach
There is a parking lot at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics, which requires a parking permit. Temporary permits
may be purchased at the Harvard College Observatory Administrative
Office, subject to availability. The HCO Administrative Office
is located in room C-26 of the CfA complex at 60 Garden Street.
Is there someone I can contact with
my comments or concerns about the Library?
Library staff members are always interested in hearing your
comments or concerns about our resources and services. CfA staff
may also contact their Library Committee representative to discuss
Library issues. Each scientific division at the CfA is represented
by a Library Committee member. A list of Library Committee members
is located on the contact information
page of this web site.
Can you state the value of the materials I
have donated to the Library for tax purposes?
The John G. Wolbach Library accepts gifts-in-kind, or non-monetary donations, which are compatible with the Library's collecting philosophy and which enhance and complete its selection effort. The Library reserves the right to limit such gifts to those which substantially benefit the Library and are cost effective to receive, catalog, process, maintain and preserve. The Library, through its governing institutions, assumes ownership of all donations and reserves the right to add donated materials to its collections, and to exchange, sell, or discard them as appropriate. The Library accepts donated collections which must be kept intact, items offered conditionally, temporarily or with restrictions only in unusual cases of exceptionally rare and valuable items. Appraisal and documentation of materials for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. Following Smithsonian Institution policy, no staff member may
provide an appraisal of materials donated to the Library.
Can you give me information about copyright
The most comprehensive source of information about U.S. copyright
is the U.S. Copyright
Office. Their website should provide answers to most questions
about copyright. Another good resource is the Digital Media Law Project Primer on Copyright Liability and Fair Use.
Where can I find a list of new books?
Recent materials can now be found in the HOLLIS catalog.
Click here to start
a search that limits to Wolbach library holdings. Once the search is complete, sort by data(descending) to get the most recent materials.