Now available: the Cal library on a flash drive

Thanks to recent advances in scanning technology, all of the 10 million books in the UC Berkeley Library have been digitized and are now available in abridged form on a flash drive.  This valuable and useful item, priced at $99.95, goes on sale April 1 in the Moffitt Library Copy Center.

Because the flash drive only holds 1 gigabyte of information (about 1/3000th of the storage space needed for the entire collection), there was room to include only the first sentence of each book.

Some examples:

  • “Call me Ishmael.”  – Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
  • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984
  • “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.” – James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford

The librarian in charge of the project commented that “There are some real gems in here.  We’re sure Cal students and faculty will appreciate having such convenient access to this extraordinary scholarly resource. Really, people would be fools not to buy it.”

A second “library on a flash drive” product, containing the final sentence of each book, is under consideration.

Update: This announcement was, of course, an April Fool’s joke. Rest assured that we have no plans to produce such a product!

However, it is true that:

  • More than 3.3 million volumes from the UC libraries, including many from Berkeley, have been scanned by Google and by the Internet Archive. Over 490,000 of these are in the public domain and freely available online.
  • OskiCat includes links to over 480,000 e-books and other full text items.
  • The UC Berkeley libraries subscribe to over 130 e-book and text collections.

For more information on how to access electronic texts through the library, see our Find Books and E-books page.

To learn more about book scanning projects in the UC libraries, see the California Digital Library’s Mass Digitization website.

And, yes, we do sell flash drives (but they’re blank).