Emergency HathiTrust service is now live

Emergency HathiTrust service is now live

Starting today, current UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students will be able to take advantage of HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service, helping the Library continue to serve its mission even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service provides view-only access to digital versions of millions of the physical volumes held by libraries across the 10-campus UC system — plus NRLF and SRLF. With careful consideration of fair use guidelines, these materials are available only to the current campus community (with CalNet IDs). We will announce this publicly via multiple channels, including the Library’s news story: Need a book from the UC Berkeley Library while we are sheltering in place? Check here first. And we encourage you to share this news generously with patrons. “For Berkeley faculty, students, and staff, this opens up a trove of materials,” said Salwa Ismail, who worked with HathiTrust to bring the service to fruition for Berkeley. “Our shelves are closed, but as long as your screens are open, you’ll have access to most of our resources.” For more information, read HathiTrust’s guide and FAQ on the Emergency Temporary Access Service. (Source: Email from the University Librarian  Professor/ Dr. Jeff Mackie-Mason, dated April 2, 2020)

As an example, please see- USSR in construction. 1930:no.2-8.

View full catalog record Rights: Protected by copyright law.

New Online Exhibition by Yad Vashem: Rescue by Jews “One for All”

Shoah or more widely known as the Holocaust in the Western world was an event that one must never forget. It also caused a mass exodus of people of the Jewish faith to their historic homeland and also to Latin America and to the different parts of the world. The new online exhibition as posted by Yad Vashem allows us to explore the narratives from our venues of COVID-19 pandemic mandated social separation.

The exhibition has historical and area studies aspects and that is why it is being posted for our colleagues to inform themselves about the following, “The testimonies of Holocaust survivors are filled with recollections of Jewish acts of kindness and solidarity. ” (source: https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/rescue-by-jews/index.asp#about)

In the world, we experience these acts of kindness everywhere from people of all nationalities. These happen all around us all the time and I wanted to appreciate my colleagues and administrators who have been incredibly supportive in these difficult times of Pandemic. Thank you, and enjoy the exhibition!




[Open Access] Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain!

Smithsonian Institute in its magazine announced  a launch of their open access platform that will allow its user to search for 2.8 million images that the institution has released into public domain. See the image of this new OA platform below. If you click on the image, you can actually conduct search in a new window. Stay safe and stay well! (Source of this information was my colleague and our librarian for History, Ms. Jennifer Dorner).

Free Access to British History Online (BHO) digital collection through July 31, 2020!

As we get used to the concepts of Social Distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must think of how we can leverage our abilities to provide reference services using the online tools that are accessible to our users. Despite the intensity of COVID-19, many publishers are making their content freely available to individual users, and the British Library is not an exception.

Below is an excerpt from the BL Blog announcement, “British History Online (BHO) is a digital collection of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a special focus on the period 1300 to 1800. From 30 March, all transcribed content on BHO is now freely available to individual users, and will remain so until 31 July 2020. The BHO collection includes over 1,280 volumes of primary content and secondary sources.Most of this content (over 1000 volumes or c.80% of the total) is always available free to use by anyone, anywhere with access to the BHO site.”

A simple keyword search for the term, “Mexico“, provides more than four hundred results. Enjoy!

OpenEdition and Latin America and its history!

My colleague, our librarian for Romance Languages and Literatures, Mr. Claude Potts informed me this morning the following, that the OpenEdition after getting authorization from the publishers has opened up most of their catalog of nearly 10,000 ebooks to full-format access (pdfs and ePub) to everyone during the period of shelter in place. We already had full-format access to the 175 freemium journals, but the additional formats for the remaining ebooks is a great gift to Academia during the time of this covid-19 pandemic.

See announcement in French: https://leo.hypotheses.org/16941

Today another French-language vendor Cairn which focuses on th social sciences has opened up its entire ebook catalog of 10,174 titles, the Que sais-je? reference series and also some popular magazines during the closure as well.

There are several important Latin America Related titles that one can access.

A search for Mexico is shown in the OpenEdition’s interface above!

Cuban Poster Collection Digitized!

In light of the Shelter in place order in the Alameda County through April 7, 2020, I wanted to bring you to your attention a completion of our Cuban Posters collection digitization project that you can visit from the comfort of your home.
My predecessor Dr. Carlos Delgado, our former Librarian for Latin American Studies, had acquired these during his trips to Cuba during the height of the Cold War. Dr. Delgado pioneered the establishment of an exchange program with the Cuban National Library. These posters are now housed in the Bancroft Library. However, their digital surrogates can be accessed here:https://digicoll.lib.berkeley.edu/search?&cc=Cuban+Poster+Collection+1960-2000
There are a total of 482 posters that were published in Cuba from 1960-2010. Enjoy your visit to our digital collections. Stay safe and stay well!

New E-Resources Guides Created during the COVID-19 closure.

Since the access to the library’s physical collections is currently non-existent until the potential reopening provided the Alameda County’s Shelter in place order gets modified or expired and knowing that the students need access to our collections, I have created two library guides that introduce students to our rich e-resources collections. These are introductory guides, and the students can contact me further using the email or skype or google hangouts during the closure.

E Resources: The Caribbean and Latin American Studies and E Resources: Slavic and East European Studies at UC Berkeley Library.

Below is a screenshot of E-Resources: The Carribbean and Latin American Studies at UC Berkely. guides. I hope that you will find these helpful.


Romance Languages – Online Resources & more

Postcard of Sanremo ca. 1925, Biblioteca civica Francesco Corradi, Internet Culturale

Even though the Library’s buildings have been closed through April  7  due to the coronavirus pandemic, faculty, students and staff can still access a wealth of resources online, and we are ramping up our outreach and remote services. The newly created guide Remote Resources for UC Berkeley Library Users provides an overview of resources available to you:

  • Online resources
  • Online help 24/7
  • Librarian consultations and instruction
  • Technology assistance
  • Returning and renewing materials (due date for all items due between March 16 and May 31 is now June 1, 2020)

This blog post, which will be updated periodically, aims to highlight online resources for those doing research in the romance languages and literatures within the context of Southern European studies in particular. If you encounter resources of interest not listed please let me know and I’ll add them, especially if they are not included in the directory of library databases or existing library guides for French, Italian and Spanish & Portuguese. See also the e-resources guide for the Caribbean and Latin American Studies.

Book and journal requests are encouraged but the Library is limited to e-formats at this time. And please don’t forget that I remain available for research and reference assistance by email, telephone, chat via Google Hangouts, or Zoom.

Claude Potts
Librarian for Romance Language Collections


Most ebooks in English are acquired through packages with publishers such as Cambridge, JSTOR, Project Muse, ProQuest and are discoverable in OskiCat as well as Start My Search. Here are a few important European ebook platforms that can be explored directly (or individual ebooks encountered through OskiCat):

Cairn ebooks  updated 3/26/20
Primarily a journal collection but UCB has has also purchased access to 568 ebooks through Cairn. During the closure, they are providing access to the full catalog of 10,174 ebooks, the Que sais-je? series and also some popular magazines.

Classiques Garnier Numérique
During the COVID-19 crisis, this publisher is generously providing access to digital versions of books we’ve purchased in print, including collections such as Classiques Jaunes, Littérature française, Littératures francophones and more.

Collection of Spanish and Catalan e-books published in Latin America and Spain. To date, the UCB Library has purchased more than 2,700+ titles. To preview the complete list search OskiCat for “Digitalia e-Books UCB access.”

The Directory of Open Access Books is an initiative to increase the discoverability of open access books. Currently, it includes 27,592 academic peer-reviewed books from 377 publishers.

Digital platform for Éditions L’Harmattan which is the largest publisher of French-language ebooks. Search OskiCat for “Harmathèque eBooks” to discover the 1041 titles acquired by the Library.

HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service added 4/3/20   HathiTrust Digital Library
Current UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students will be able to take advantage of HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service, helping the Library continue to serve its mission even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service provides view-only access to digital versions of millions of the physical volumes held by libraries across the 10-campus UC system — plus NRLF and SRLF. For more information, read HathiTrust’s guide and FAQ on the Emergency Temporary Access Service.

Humanities E-Book Project (formerly History E-Books Project)
Access to the full text of 5,400 frequently-cited academic books in humanities. (ACLS History E-Books Project – HEB) [1920s – present]

Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library added 3/24/20
A collection of nearly a million and a half digitized books, most still under copyright, in all languages are being made publicly available through June 30, 2020. Up to 10 books at a time can be checked out with the creation of a free account.

OpenEdition Books oa updated 3/26/20
A French open access interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences portal with four complementary platforms: OpenEdition Books (ebooks), OpenEdition Journals (scholarly journals), Calenda (academic announcements), and Hypothèses (research blogs). While most of the 9,463 ebooks are available in html, UCB has purchased freemium access to 4,751 ebooks that are now discoverable in OskiCat through the handle “OpenEdition Books.” Purchased titles have been optimized specifically for e-readers, tablets, and smart phones (ePub, PDF, etc.). 700 new titles were recently purchased and freemium access should be turned on by April however during the period of confinement, most books will be available in all formats.

REDIB (Red Iberoamericana de Innovación y Conocimiento Científico) oa
A platform for the aggregation of open scientific and academic content in the electronic format produced in the Ibero-American context. Currently 3,199 journals and 852 ebooks.

Casalini Libri’s full text digital platform provides access to 3,161 ebooks, 530 conference proceedings, and 141 journals by major Italian publishers.


The most comprehensive collection of French-language journals in the humanities and social sciences available online. Full text to more than 500 peer-reviewed academic French and Belgian journals, as well as citations for open-access journals, in the humanities and social sciences. [2001 – present]

Dialnet oa
Indexes articles, conference papers, book chapters, dissertations and other documents in the social sciences and the humanities published mostly in Spain and to a lesser extent in Latin America. Full text provided to open access content. [2001 – present]

Fabrizio Serra Journals
Collection of more than 50 Italian scholarly journals primarily covering literature, literary criticism, philology, and linguistics. [start dates vary by title; most begin in 2000].

OpenEdition Journals oa
Formerly Revues.org is part of OpenEdition, a comprehensive digital publishing infrastructure whose objective is to promote research in the humanities and social sciences. The open access scholarly journal collection includes 534 mostly French but also English, Italian and Spanish titles in the humanities and social sciences. [1999-]

Persée oa
Free and open access to French scholarly journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities as well as to books, conference proceedings, serial publications, primary sources, etc.

RACO: Revistes Catalanes amb Acces Obert oa added 3/24/20
A cooperative open access repository of 506 full text scholarly journals.

REDIB (Red Iberoamericana de Innovación y Conocimiento Científico) oa
A platform for the aggregation of scientific and academic content in the electronic format produced in the Ibero-American context. Currently 3199 journals and 433 ebooks published by CSIC.

Casalini Libri’s full text digital platform provides access to 3161 ebooks, 530 conference proceedings, and 141 journals by major Italian publishers including Fabrizio Serra Editore.

Digital libraries and other online collections


UPDATE: All libraries to close for 3 weeks starting today at 5 p.m. (16 March 2020)

Effective today — Monday, March 16 — at 5 p.m., the libraries are moving to a full closure of all facilities due to today’s announcement by Alameda County for residents to shelter in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus until April 7, 2020. An update should be coming from our library’s administration in coming days. The latest information on COVID-19 and how UC Berkeley is dealing with it can be found here: https://news.berkeley.edu/coronavirus/

Please see the message from the Chancellor’s office here.

However, we are here for you as your librarians to help you remotely. Here is more information on remotely accessing our resources: https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/help/research-help/remote-resources

We’ve received some queries about how students will access library resources if they are leaving campus. We have a significant amount of book and journal content available electronically that students can access from off-campus. If they tell you they are having difficulty accessing it, please point them to https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/using-the-libraries/connect-off-campus.  If they are returning to a country that has restricted access to the Internet (like China) the VPN is the better option.

Remember that we are here to help students find the information they need and also access it. We may not be able to solve all their technical issues, but I can at least try to troubleshoot them. If a student cannot successfully connect to our electronic resources, we can try and deliver the content they need via email.

The students can use the 24/7 chat reference service, which has been expanded. https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/help/research-help



The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Cover for 1974 edition of Bir Avuç Gökyüzü.

The Turkish writer Çetin Altan (1927-2015) was a politician, author, journalist, columnist, playwright, and poet. From 1965 to 1969, he was deputy for the left-wing Workers Party of Turkey—the first socialist party in the country to gain representation in the national parliament. He was sentenced to prison several times on charges of spreading communist propaganda through his articles. He wrote numerous columns, plays, works of fiction (including science fiction), political studies, historical studies, essays, satire, travel books, memoirs, anthologies, and biographical stories.[1]

His novel Bir Avuç Gökyüzü (A Handful of Sky), was published in 1974 and takes place in Istanbul. A 41-year-old politically indicted married man spends two years in prison and then is released. Several months later he is called into the police station where the deputy commissioner has him sign a notification from the public prosecutor’s office. This time, the man will serve three more years and he has a week to surrender to the courthouse. The novel chronicles the week of this man’s life before he serves his extended sentence. Suddenly, an old classmate with thick-rimmed glasses appears with the pretense to help. The classmate convinces the main character to petition his sentence and have it postponed for four months so that he can make the necessary arrangements to support his family. Unsurprisingly, the petition is rejected on the grounds of the severity of the purported offense that led to conviction. His classmate then urges the protagonist to take a freighter and flee the country, but instead he turns himself in. From the prison ward’s iron-barred windows he can only see a handful of sky.[2] The protagonist experiences lovemaking with his mistress mainly as a metaphor for freedom lost; the awkward and clumsy sex he has with his wife, on the other hand, seems an apt metaphor for the emotionally inert life he leads both in and outside of prison.[3]

Çetin Altan was well aware of language’s power and wrote articles on the Turkish language in the newspapers where he was employed as a journalist. At the age of 82 and during his acceptance speech at the Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Awards in 2009, Mr. Altan said, “İnsan kendi dilinin lezzetini sevdiği kadar vatanını sever’’ (A person loves the homeland as much as he loves the flavor of his own language). He loved Turkish and wrote with that love. In his works, as he put it, he “never betrayed the language and the writing.”[4]

An argument can easily be made to study Turkish. There are 80 million people who speak Turkish as their first language, making it one of the world’s 15 most widely spoken first languages. Another 15 million people speak Turkish as a second language. For example there are over 116,000 Turkish speakers in the United States, and Turkish is the second most widely spoken language in Germany. Studying Turkish also lays a solid foundation for learning other modern Turkic languages, like Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Uzbek, and Uighur. The different Turkic languages are closely related and some of them are even mutually intelligible. Many of these languages are spoken in regions of vital strategic importance, like the Caucasus, the Balkans, China, and the former Soviet Union. Mastery of Turkish grammar makes learning other Turkic languages exponentially easier.[5]

Turkish is not related to other major European or Middle Eastern languages but rather distantly related to Finnish and Hungarian. Turkish is an agglutinative language, which means suffixes can be added to a root-word so that a single word can convey what a complete sentence does in English. For example, the English sentence “We are not coming” is a single word in Turkish: “come” is the root word, and elements meaning “not,” “-ing,” “we,” and “are” are all suffixed to it: gelmiyoruz. The regularity and predictability in Turkish of how these suffixes are added make agglutination much easier to internalize.[5] [6] At UC Berkeley, modern Turkish language courses are offered through Department of Near Eastern Studies.[7]

When I was asked to write a short essay about the Turkish language based on a book, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the UC Berkeley Library has many of Çetin Altan’s books in their original language. While he was my favorite author when I was in high school and in college in Turkey during the 1970s and 1980s, my move to the United States and life in general caused these memories to fade away. Now I am excited and feel privileged with the prospect of reading his books in Turkish again and rediscovering them after all these years.

Contribution by Neil Gali
Administrative Associate, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Sources consulted:

  1. http://www.turkishculture.org/whoiswho/memorial/cetin-altan-953.htm (accessed 3/10/20)
  2. https://www.evvelcevap.com/bir-avuc-gokyuzu-kitap-ozeti (accessed 3/10/20)
  3. “İnsan kendi dilinin lezzetini sevdiği kadar vatanı sever,” (October 21, 2017) P24: Ağimsiz Gazetecilik Platformu = Platform for Independent Journalism. http://platform24.org/p24blog/yazi/2492/-insan-kendi-dilinin-lezzetini-sevdigi-kadar-vatani-sever (accessed 3/10/20)
  4. İrvin Cemil Schick, “Representation of Gender and Sexuality in Ottoman and Turkish Erotic Literature,” The Turkish Studies Association Journal, Vol. 28, No. 1/2 (2004), pp. 81-103, https://www.jstor.org/stable/43383697 (accessed 3/10/20)
  5. https://names.mongabay.com/languages/Turkish.html (accessed 3/10/20)
  6. https://www.bu.edu/wll/home/why-study-turkish (accessed 3/10/20)
  7. http://guide.berkeley.edu/courses/turkish (accessed 3/10/20)


Title: Bir Avuç Gökyüzü
Title in English: A Handful of Heaven
Author: Altan, Çetin, 1927-2015
Imprint: Kavaklıdere, Ankara : Bilgi Yayınevi, 1974.
Edition: 1st edition
Language: Turkish
Language Family: Turkish, Turkic

Recommended Online Resource:
“İnsan kendi dilinin lezzetini sevdiği kadar vatanı sever,” (October 21, 2017) P24: Ağimsiz Gazetecilik Platformu = Platform for Independent Journalism. Blog post of tribute to the writer with photos, videos, etc.
http://platform24.org/p24blog/yazi/2492/-insan-kendi-dilinin-lezzetini-sevdigi-kadar-vatani-sever (accessed 3/10/20)

The Languages of Berkeley [fan]
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The Languages of Berkeley is a dynamic online sequential exhibition celebrating the diversity of languages that have advanced research, teaching and learning at the University of California, Berkeley. It is made possible with support from the UC Berkeley Library and is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Language Center (BLC).

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