Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is the catalog prompting me to sign in?

A: You are not required to sign in to use the catalog. You only have to sign in when you want to use self checkout. If you are stuck on the sign in screen of our catalog, clear your browser history, close the tab, and try again. If you still cannot get to the catalog search, let us know,

Q: How do I access journals and books when away from NRAO?

A: Instructions are included on the eJournals and eBooks pages.

Q: Which journals can be accessed by NRAO Staff?

A: A list of commonly used journals is available HERE. See the notes regarding access.

Q: How do I know if the NRAO Library has access to a certain year of a journal?

A: Unless otherwise noted eJournals are available to NRAO Staff for the full range the publisher offers.

Q: What if I need an article or report that is not listed on the journals page or I cannot download myself?

A: Send as much information as you have to to request it.

Q: How do I find an eBook?

A: Please review our eBooks page.

Q: How do I request a book or report or other material I need?

A: Requests can be made through our 'Contact Us' link, via an email to, or by contacting an NRAO Library staff member directly.

Q: What are the library's terms for borrowing?

A: NRAO Library Borrowing Policy exists to ensure the collection is as widely available to all patrons as possible, with few limitations.

  1. NRAO Staff may borrow up to 20 items for an initial loan period of 6 months.
  2. Students may borrow up to 5 items for an initial loan period of 3 months.
  3. Renewals are permitted via email without limit unless there is a Hold on the item. Library staff will recall books as needed.
  4. Student borrowers must bring the book or items to the library in person to renew.
  5. Patron Holds can be placed on any circulating item in the collection.
  6. Privileges may be reduced or suspended if a patron fails to renew an item(s) – in a timely manner or an item(s) is lost.

Q: How do I cite an NRAO and AUI facility whose formal title includes the name of an honroed person as a prefix?

A: The policy is to use the full formal name of the facility on first reference, followed by an acronym in parentheses that does not include a letter for the honored person’s name. See additional information here. Thus:

  • The “Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT),” with “GBT” in subsequent references.
  • The “Pete V. Domenici Science Operations Center (SOC),” with “SOC” in subsequent references.
  • The “Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA),” with “VLA” in subsequent references.

Q: Can the NRAO Library provide me images or information for my report?

A: Please check the NRAO Image Gallery for a variety of astronomical images ( free for your use.

Q: Does the library maintain an institutional repository?

A: The library does not maintain a traditional institutional repository. We provide links in the drop-down menus at the top of our pages to popular resources including journals, NRAO publications, and eBooks. For access to NRAO Telescope Data, please visit

Q: Can the NRAO Library staff respond to questions from the general public?

A: Yes, questions from non-NRAO employees will be answered as time permits.

Q: Can the NRAO Library answer general astronomy questions from the public?

A: Please submit your questions to the NRAO “Ask An Astronomer” service:

Q: What are the normal business hours of the NRAO Library?

A: The library is open during NRAO Charlottesville regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm EST.

Q: Can I use the NRAO Library for my meeting?

A: The library is open to all NRAO Staff for use on an informal, first come, first serve basis.

Q: What are NRAO Library conventions for standardizing table of contents pages and posting memorandum, reports, and publications?

A: Please see our page, listing authors, titles, and dates and other information about hosting NRAO documents and publications.

Modified on Wednesday, 05-Jun-2019 17:18:02 EDT by Library Staff