Navigation

Help - General

What is HathiTrust?

HathiTrust makes the digitized collections of some of the nation’s great research libraries available for all. HathiTrust was initially conceived as a collaboration of the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system, and the University of Virginia to establish a repository for those universities to archive and share their digitized collections. HathiTrust will quickly expand to include additional partners and to provide those partners with an easy means to archive their digital content.

What does the name "HathiTrust" mean?

Hathi (pronounced hah-tee) is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal highly regarded for its memory, wisdom, and strength. Trust is a core value of research libraries and one of their greatest assets. In combination, the words convey the key benefits researchers can expect from a first-of-its-kind shared digital repository.

How will researchers benefit?

HathiTrust will enable scholars to access a vast array of material, produce customized searches, and discover new information previously too difficult to access or to study side by side. HathiTrust will increase the value of these resources to scholarship by ensuring long-term access, by creating scholarly tools, and by improving the quality of the digitized content over time. Researchers will benefit from the expert curation and consistent access they have long associated with research libraries, but instead of having to search across each institution’s repository, they will benefit from a shared collection. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Are the materials open to everyone?

Works in the public domain in HathiTrust are open to all researchers—whoever and wherever they may be. Content in HathiTrust is discoverable through online search technologies within the repository and through Google, with no authentication, login, or password required. As it becomes possible to expand access to the materials through permissions or other agreements, other materials will be made available. HathiTrust has already been contacted by some rights holders wishing to provide broader access to their content. The research collections of partner libraries, accumulated over centuries, represent a vast treasury of cultural heritage and investment in the broad public good of promoting scholarship and advancing knowledge.

What is the CIC?

The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is the academic equivalent of the Big Ten, plus the University of Chicago. It includes the University of Illinois, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Who's taking the lead?

The University of Michigan, Indiana University, the University of Virginia, and the University of California system, all highly regarded for their expertise in the areas of information technology, digital libraries, and project management, are leading the partnership effort through their expertise and financial commitment. All members of the CIC are founding partners.

Is HathiTrust only for content digitized by Google?

No! HathiTrust’s aspirations, at the very least, are to bring together all of the digitized books and journals held by libraries, to provide secure, long-term storage and (where possible) access, and to aid in larger preservation efforts for printed materials.

Is content limited to books and journals? How does HathiTrust relate to my institutional repository?

Although HathiTrust intends to expand the function of the Repository beyond digitized book and journal content, and particularly to the types of information research libraries store in Institutional Repositories, the initial success of the Repository will depend on an effort focused on conventional book and journal content. Time and experience will guide how HathiTrust’s partners continue to evolve the Repository's capabilities.

What about the digitized material?

Content is growing daily (view current statistics). The institutions that have deposited content in HathiTrust to date can be found in the "Original Location" facet of the temporary bibliographic catalog. HathiTrust is making bibliographic records for the public domain HathiTrust materials available so that institutions around the world can load them into their online catalogs, alerting users to the availability of these digitized volumes.

What options existed previously?

Print materials were previously housed in separate locations and connected only by online catalogs, inter-library loan policies, and reciprocal borrowing agreements. Digital collections, despite being online, reflected the same institutional "scatter." HathiTrust builds on the strong relationships of the CIC-with its longstanding history of fruitful cooperation—and extends the benefits of the digital age. With the introduction of HathiTrust, "we are all owners of all of it."