New in OverDrive eBooks and Audiobooks

OverDrive is a UC Berkeley Library service for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks. You can access books online, download them to a device, or read them on an ereader such as Kindle. OverDrive is available to current UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. How it works: Simply log in with your CalNet ID, and you can start borrowing!

You can also download the Libby by OverDrive app to access OverDrive from your mobile device. For more information, visit the OverDrive help guide.

Check out some of the new arrivals here:


The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Portrait of Bankimacandra Cattopadhyaya (Wikimedia Commons) and title page for his collected works (HathiTrust).

Bankimacandra Cattopadhyaya (1838-1894) was not only the very first novelist of the Bengali language but is also considered one of its greatest. He wrote the first novel in Bengali as well as the first novel in English by an Indian. His works are still avidly read and a poem in his historical novel Anandamatha titled “Vande Matram” (“Hail Mother”) so inspired Indian freedom fighters it was officially adopted as India’s national song (not the same as the national anthem which is a poem by Tagore).

Bankim was born in a Brahim family, and grew up in the town of Midnapur where his father worked for the colonial government. After his education Bankim followed his father into civil service while at the same time pursuing a successful literary career. Starting with poetry he turned towards writing novels. His first published novel, Rajmohan’s Wife, was composed in English. However, he soon turned to Bengali and in 1865 published the very first novel in the language called, Durgesanandini (“Daughter of the Lord of the Fort”). He continued to write novels as well as satirical and humorous sketches. A commentary he wrote on the Gita was published posthumously.

Outside Bengal, his historical novel Anandamatha (“The Monastery of Bliss”), published in 1882, became the most famous and somewhat controversial for its attitude towards Muslims. It is set during the Fakir Rebellion of the late 18th century when Bengalis rose up against the oppressive rule of the East India Company during a famine. As mentioned above, it contains an ode to the motherland conceived as a goddess titled “Vande Matram” that became very popular with Indian freedom fighters during the struggle for independence. Bankim’s political stances got him in trouble with British authorities in his own lifetime, but in 1894—the same year he died—Queen Victoria made him a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire.

Bankim belonged to a generation of Bengalis who had grown up under British rule and were able to reflect on the massive changes that rule had brought. The generation immediately before his had been the first to be exposed to western and modern ideas, and many of them accepted them with enthusiasm while others did so reluctantly. While Bankim did not question the adoption of western and modern ideas and technologies, he and members of his generation were more familiar with them and were in a position to critically judge the promises the British had made to Indians about the benefits of European rule and civilization. At the same time they had gained the confidence to appreciate aspects of their Indian and Hindu heritage which they wanted to hold onto as they modernized. Apart from their literary merits, these are some of the themes that make Bankim’s works relevant to this day.

Bengali, or Bangla to its nearly 230 million speakers, is an Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. It is the official and predominant language of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, and also has many speakers in the neighboring Indian states of Tripura and Assam. With a rich and centuries old literary tradition it continues to be a major language of modern South Asia. At UC Berkeley, introductory and intermediate Bengali is taught through the Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies.

Contribution by Adnan Malik
Curator and Cataloger for the South Asia Collection
South/Southeast Asia Library

Title: Granthabali
Title in English: Collected Works
Caṭṭopādhyāẏa, Baṅkimacandra, 1838-1894.
Imprint: Kalikata : Upendra Nath Mukhopadhyaya, Basu Mati Office, 1310-11 [1892/93-93/94].
Edition: Indo-European, Indo-Aryan
Language: Begnali
Language Family:
Source: HathiTrust Digital Library (UC Berkeley)

Other online editions:

  • Bankim Rachanabali (volume 1 of complete works in Bengali), Internet Archive (Digital Library of India)
  • The Abbey Of Bliss (English translation of Anandamath), Internet Archive (British Library)

Print editions at Berkeley:

  • Granthabali. Kalikata : Upendra Nath Mukhopadhyaya, Basu Mati Office, 1310-11 [1892/93-93/94].

The Languages of Berkeley [fan]
previous | about | next post on 3/30/20

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).

Follow The Languages of Berkeley!
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What’s your favorite language?

Primary sources with pizzazz from the Oral History Center

If you’re an instructor looking for remote learning tools or a scholar or student looking for primary sources, you might just find it in our online archive.

Add some spice to your research papers, lectures, remote lessons

We’re sheltering in place, the libraries are closed, and we all need to adjust to this new “normal” of social distancing and remote learning and teaching. It may at times feel daunting to shift gears on such a tight timeline. A bit of good news in all this uncertainty: the UC Berkeley Oral History Center has an online archive of more than 4,000 interviews on a multitude of topics.

So if you’re…

  • A professor, teacher, or high school administrator looking for remote learning tools
  • A scholar, grad student, undergrad, or high school student looking for primary sources for your paper

…you might just find it in our online archive.

Primary sources with pizzazz — and ed tech

Transcripts on shelves
Transcripts of oral histories are stored in a room in The Bancroft Library and are available online. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

The Oral History Center (OHC) has oral history interviews on a countless number of topics, including science, engineering, medicine, business, politics, the environment, the economy, social movements, women’s rights, gay rights, art, music, literature, education, philanthropy, athletics, UC Berkeley history, and more.

The focus is on US history, California, and the West, plus some interviews with an international focus (such as global mining, communism). Information in interviews stretch back to the late 19th/early 20th century and also address some of our most recent social and political issues, including same-sex marriage and culturally competent medical care.

We’re committed to open access and all of our transcripts and interpretive materials are accessible online at no cost, whether you are a scholar, student, or member of the general public. We also have video and audio clips for many. Some transcripts are even synched to the full videotaped interview, specifically for the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front Collection (interviews with “View OHMS video” have this capability).

How to search the collection

There are several ways to search the vast collection.

Reid Soskin
Betty Reid Soskin is featured in our African American history collection guide.

If you know what you’re looking for, select Advanced Search and enter key words in the full text feature. Use quotation marks for an exact match. Check “Limit to records that include audio/video” if you want to be sure there’s video for the transcript. The full text search is particularly useful to find gems in our individual interviews on a myriad of topics. For example, seventy-seven oral histories mention the word “quarantine” and three “coronavirus.”

You can browse projects to see what’s in the entire collection by specific subjects.

You can scan our collection guides, for some guidance on locating interviews on topics that cross projects, such as African American history, veterans, and the Holocaust.


The OHC also has a podcast series, The Berkeley Remix, featuring audio recordings of our interviews on a wide range of topics, both historical and on current events, ideal for distance learning. Topics include:

AIDS and San Francisco: 6 episodes on the epidemic and community response
Engineering and Computer Science: on the microchip, open access, and Silicon Valley
Food: on the farm-to-table food movement
Parks and the Environment: 3 episodes on on preserving the land, women in non-traditional gender roles, and fighting the 1998 Oakland Hills Fire
Preserving the Coast: on saving Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz
UC Berkeley student housing: on women’s equality, disabled student access, and desegregation
Women in Politics: 6 episodes on suffrage through the 1990s

Prestigious $500 prize for UC Berkeley undergrads

UC Berkeley undergrads who use OHC’s oral history interviews for a UC Berkeley class paper in any discipline are eligible for a $500 prize for outstanding primary source research. Students — you don’t need to write a separate paper; just submit one from a class where you have used the interviews. Instructors — if you’re teaching a UC Berkeley class where students need to write a research paper, please let them know about the Friesen Prize.

Montage of photos featuring people the OHC has interviewed
The Oral HIstory Center has interviews on just about every topic imaginable, including architecture, the Port Chicago mutiny, the Chicano Studies movement, women pioneers in education, the Free Speech Movement, the World War II home front, women in politics, California politics, and much more. Top row from L to R: George Matsumoto, Joe Small, Antonia Castaneda, Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Bottom row from L to R: Free speech march, Betty Reid Soskin, March Fong Eu, Jerry Brown.

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:

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:
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 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



The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

La Vallière manuscript of Candide, ou L’optimisme (1758), Gallica, Bibliothèque nationale de France    

Si c’est ici le meilleur des mondes possibles, que sont donc les autres?

If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?

— Voltaire, Candide, ou, l’Optimisme (trans. Burton Raffel)

Voltaire, né François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), was a French philosopher who mobilized the power of Enlightenment principles in 18th-century Europe more than any other thinker of his day. Born into a prosperous bourgeois Parisian family, his father steered him toward law, but he was intent on a literary career. His tragedy Oedipe, which premiered at the Comédie Française in 1718, brought him instant financial and social success. A libertine and a polemicist, he was also an outspoken advocate for religious tolerance, pluralism and freedom of speech, publishing more than 2,000 works in all possible genres during his lifetime. For his bluntness, he was locked up in the Bastille twice and exiled from Paris three times.[1] Fleeing royal censors, Voltaire fled to London in 1727 where he, despite arriving penniless, spent two and a half years hobnobbing with nobility as well as writers such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.[2]

After his sojourn in Great Britain, he returned to the Continent and lived in numerous cities (Champagne, Versaille, Amsterdam, Potsdam, Berlin, etc.) before settling outside of Geneva in 1755 shortly after Louis XV banned him from Paris. “It was in his old age, during the 1760s and 1770s,” writes historian Robert Darnton, “that he wielded his second and most powerful weapon, moral passion.”[3] Early in 1759, Voltaire completed and published the satirical novella Candide, ou l’Optimisme (“Candide, or Optimism”) featured in this entry. In 1762, he published Traité sur la tolerance (“Treatise on Tolerance”), which is considered one of the greatest defenses of religious freedom and human rights ever composed. Soon after its publication, the American and French Revolutions began dismantling the social world of aristocrats and kings that we now refer to as the Ancien Régime.[4]

With Candide in particular, Voltaire is credited with pioneering what is called the conte philosophique, or philosophical tale. Knowing it would scandalize, the story was published anonymously in Geneva, Paris and Amsterdam simultaneously and disguised as a French translation by a fictitious Mr. Le Docteur Ralph. The novella was immediately condemned for its blasphemy and subversion, yet within weeks sold 6,000 copies within Paris alone.[5] Royal censors were unable to keep up with the proliferation of illegal reprints, and it quickly became a bestseller throughout Europe.

Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) is considered one of its clearest precursors in both form and parody. Candide is the name of the naive hero who is tutored by the optimistic philosophy of Pangloss, who claims that “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” only to be expulsed in the first few pages from the opulent chateau in which he grew up. The story unfolds as Candide travels the world and encounters unimaginable human suffering and catastrophes. Voltaire’s satirical critique takes aim at religion, authority, and the prevailing philosophy of the time, Leibnizian optimism.

While the classical language of Candide is more than 260 years old, it is easy enough to comprehend today. As the lingua franca across the Continent, French was accessible to a vast French-reading public since gathering strength as a literary language since the 16th century.[6] However, no language stays the same forever and French is no exception. Old French, which is studied by medievalists at Berkeley, covers the period up to 1300. Middle French spans the 14th and 14th centuries and part of the early Renaissance when the study of French language was taken more seriously. Modern French emerged from one of the two major dialects known as langue d’oïl in the middle of the 17th century when efforts to standardize the language were taking shape. It was then that the Académie Française was established in 1635.[8] One of its members, Claude Favre de Vaugelas, published in 1647 the influential volume, Remarques sur la langue françoise, a series of commentaries on points of pronunciation, orthography, vocabulary and syntax.[9]

At UC Berkeley, scholars have been analyzing Candide and other French texts in the original since the university’s founding. The Department of French may have the largest concentration of French speakers on campus, and French remains like German, Spanish, and English one of the principal languages of scholarship in many disciplines. Demand for French publications is great from departments and programs such as African Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Comparative Literature, History, Linguistics, Middle Eastern Studies, Music, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science. The French collection is also vital to interdisciplinary Designated Emphasis PhD programs in Critical Theory, Film & Media Studies, Folklore, Gender & Women’s Studies, Medieval Studies, and Renaissance & Early Modern Studies.

UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library is home to the most precious French holdings, including medieval manuscripts such as La chanson de geste de Garin le Loherain (13th c.) and dozens of incunables. More than 90 original first editions by Voltaire can be located in these special collections, including La Henriade (1728), Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de Perse (1745) Maupertuisiana (1753), L’enfant prodigue: comédie en vers dissillabes (1753) and a Dutch printing of Candide, ou, l’Optimisme (1759). Other noteworthy material from the 18th century overlapping with Voltaire include the Swiss Enlightenment and the French Revolutionary Pamphlet collections.

Contribution by Claude Potts
Librarian for Romance Language Collections, Doe Library

Sources consulted:

  1. Davidson, Ian. Voltaire. New York: Pegasus Books, 2010. xviii
  2. Ibid.
  3. Darnton, Robert. “To Deal With Trump, Look to Voltaire,” New York Times (Dec. 27, 2018).
  4. Voltaire. Candide or Optimism. Translated by Burton Raffel. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
  5. Davidson, 291.
  6. Levi, Anthony. Guide to French Literature. Chicago: St. James Press, c1992-c1994.
  7. Kors, Alan Charles, ed. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. Oxford University Press, 2002.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.


Title: Candide, ou L’optimisme (Manuscrit La Vallière)
Title in English: Candide, ou L’optimisme (La Vallière Manuscript)
Author: Voltaire, 1694-1778
Imprint: La Vallière (Louis-César, duc de). Ancien possesseur, 1758.
Edition: 1st edition
Language: French
Language Family: Indo-European, Romance
Source: Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, 3160)

Other online editions:

Print editions at Berkeley:

The Languages of Berkeley [fan]
previous | about | next

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).

Follow The Languages of Berkeley!
Subscribe by email

What’s your favorite language?

Online Reference Services and Research Help

The Library’s reference services have moved online at least through April 7th. Please see Remote Resources for UC Berkeley Library Users for the latest information on library services and resources. During this time, the Engineering & Physical Sciences Libraries are offering several ways to get reference service and research help.

Contact a Librarian

Librarians are available Monday – Friday during business hours to answer any questions you might have. Email one of us with your question or click the link to schedule an online meeting. If you’re not sure who to contact, feel free to use the Ask a Science Librarian form.

24/7 online help

Chat: Chat with a librarian. The chat service is staffed by Berkeley librarians, but at peak service times or off-hours you may be connected with a librarian from another academic institution.

Online guides, tutorials and videos:

Connecting from off campus

If you are not on campus, use EZProxy or the VPN (VPN users: choose Library Access – Full Tunnel rather than the default Split Tunnel) to authenticate yourself as a Berkeley student, faculty, or staff to access online books, journals, databases, and other resources.

If a desired resource is not available as a full-text version online, Berkeley students, faculty, and staff may be able to place a request for a digital copy through our Interlibrary Borrowing Service.  Check their website for current information on what is available through this service.