Thursday, March 7, 2019


I was wandering through a prepper-themed social media site the other day, and I saw someone asking for a source of e-books to store on a laptop in the event of TEOTWAWKI (“The End Of The World As We Know It”). 

Years ago, I followed a project designed to accumulate information for use in third-world countries — mainly basic agricultural, science, and construction information — so I started digging. It was called CD3WD, short for “Compact Disk of 3rd World Data,” and the project ended up with slightly more than could be fit onto a single CD.

I did mention that this was several years ago, right? CDs were a viable way to store information and could be read by any computer available at the time, but they have since been rendered obsolete by USB drives which hold far more data. A data CD could hold about 700 MB (0.7 GB for the kids who never had to deal with anything less than a GB), and the common CD-R has a shelf-life of a few decades depending on the type of dye used in its manufacturing. They were cheap and easy to make, so they were popular for a while. Modern computers may not even come with a CD/DVD drive installed any more; my wife’s new laptop didn’t.

The CD3WD project collapsed years ago and their servers were shut down, so its collection of data has been unavailable in the interim... until I managed to find a mirror site that is still up. I was digging around for general knowledge that should be saved for a rainy day, and lo and behold, there was my old friend listed, along with 27 other sources of free information. Some on the list were familiar (such as Google library and Project Gutenberg), but there are several that are going to require more investigation. It's time to dig out a couple of thumb drives and external hard drives, folks, because there’s a mountain of free information available.

The source I found is called the Autarky Library. It’s a European site, but it and most of its resources are in English. It does, however, require signing up and creating an account to download the information. Autarky would likely be written Autarchy in English, and it is the political concept of self-reliance bordering on anarchy. I know we don’t do politics here, so I won’t go into the pros and cons of the site or its philosophy, but the collection of information was just too big and too useful not to pass it on to the rest of you. If it could be useful in building or rebuilding a society, you’ll find some information about it in one of the sources listed.

Formats vary by source, with PDF being the most used, but the common e-book formats of MOBI (Kindle) and EPUB (Nook/other)] are options for a few. The types of information found in this library are amazing — everything from recipe books to machine tool operation, books written in the 1700s and books written in the 1960s, scholarly texts and Peace Corp manuals.

I just wish I had found this mountain of information a few months ago; it would have given me something productive to do over the winter. With spring approaching, my research time will be curtailed, but the time I’ll have available for getting out and actually testing and doing things will increase. It’s been a long winter, and I’m ready for spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to