Statement of Accessibility

HathiTrust aims to provide a website that is accessible to everyone. We meet the following web accessibility guidelines, with exceptions noted below:

Note that while we’ve done our best to make our digital library platform accessible, the books were created through methods and in formats that may not meet the needs of all users. We’ve provided information below about the accessibility of the content in our digital library.

More information about the work we’ve done to meet the above accessibility requirements and a copy of our most recent Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is available on the “Commitment to Accessibility” page.

Accessible Text Request Service

HathiTrust offers an Accessible Text Request Service to users who are affiliated with our member universities or libraries. Through this service, users who are blind or print disabled can request copies of copyrighted books, which are listed as “limited (search-only)” in the HathiTrust Digital Library Collection. HathiTrust member libraries have to set up this service, and requests for copyrighted books should be made to the staff member who is listed as a contact at your university or library.

Contact HathiTrust

Contact HathiTrust staff at with any questions or if you notice accessibility problems or have problems or questions about specific books.

Quality and Availability

OCR quality and availability

The books in the HathiTrust collection were primarily created by scanning print books as image files. OCR was created from the photos using automated processes. In most cases, a human hasn’t corrected or checked the OCR. As a result, it can contain errors.

If a book has very messy OCR, you can submit a request to fix it by clicking the “feedback” link in the header or footer of the page the book is on. We can try to get better OCR for the book by re-running the OCR process.

When a page in a book contains an image, such as an illustration, the OCR is unlikely to state that a image is present, unless the original print book contained an image caption. For pages that are completely blank or contain no text, a message will state, “NO TEXT ON PAGE. This page does not contain any text recoverable by the OCR engine.”

There are a small number of works in the HathiTrust collection that may not contain any OCR. These are handwritten manuscripts, visual materials (e.g., scrapbooks), or books in languages that can’t be OCRed.

Language of books

Fifty percent of the books in the HathiTrust collection are in English, and the rest are in over 460 languages. For non-English language books, we haven’t implemented browser markup that tells your assistive technology the language of the book. You may have to manually switch the language in your screen reader to correctly read the text.

Tips for Navigating the Digital Library

Skip links

If you’re using keyboard controls to navigate, we’ve incorporated skip links to allow you to get to the main content of the page much faster.

  • Search results pages: A “Skip to search results” link is the first link you encounter on the page. Selecting this link will allow you to skip the page headers and the option to Refine Results.
  • Reading a book: We’ve implemented three skip links, which are the first links you will encounter when you open a book.
    • “Skip to page content” will allow you to go directly to the pages of the book and control them with your arrow or access keys.
    • “Skip to text only view of this item” will allow you to switch to an unstyled interface with few interactive options.
    • “Skip to search in this text” will allow you to search in the book.

Access Keys

Access keys allow you to use your keyboard to skip to different sections of the page and switch book views. You can use the following access keys to interact with a HathiTrust book. Each browser uses a different combination of keys to activate an access key. Please refer to Wikipedia for browser-specific instructions on using access keys.

  • Access Key 2: Skip site navigation
  • Access Key 5: Switch to full text OCR for current book
  • Access Key 9: Go to the current page (move focus to current page)
  • Access Key f: Go to first page in book
  • Access Key p: Go to previous page in book
  • Access Key x: Go to next page in book
  • Access Key l: Go to last page in book

Customize your reading experience

There are two methods to access the plain-text OCR associated with a book page. Try the following methods after you’ve opened a book.

  1. The Plain Text View displays the OCRed text within the usual HathiTrust layout. Access this view by selecting the Plain Text View button or using Access Key 5. You may prefer this method if you want to read the OCR text and have access to additional book options.
  2. Under the heading “Text Only Views”, a link allows you to “Go to the text-only view of this item.” Selecting this link will open the page in an unstyled page with fewer interactive options. Three skip links appear near the top of the page, allowing you to “go to full bibliographic information,” “go to table of contents,” and “skip table of contents and go to current page.” You may prefer this method if you want to read the OCR text with fewer links and buttons in the interface.

When reading books in the fully-styled HathiTrust Digital Library, you can change the book display options. When you first open a book, different view buttons allow you to change how the pages display. Select a different view mode to get out of the mode you’re in.

  • Plain Text View displays the OCRed text associated with a page
  • Scroll View displays the pages of the book one after another and allows you to vertically scroll through the images using your mouse, arrow keys or access keys
  • Flip View displays two pages of a book side by side. You can flip backwards and forwards through the pages by clicking on the pages with a mouse, using arrow keys, or access keys
  • Thumbnail View displays small thumbnails of several pages. You can scroll through all the thumbnails, and click or select a page to enlarge it.

Zoom keys allow you to increase and decrease the size of the book page, except for the Plain Text View. Use your browser zoom to increase the size of the Plain Text View.


PDF files that you download from the HathiTrust Digital Library contain the OCR text embedded within the file. You can extract the OCR text using PDF reader software such as Adobe Reader.

When you download a whole book PDF, sections and chapters are indicated with bookmarks. Some books may not have section or chapter bookmarks.

Known Accessibility Issues

The following list documents known accessibility issues as of October 20, 2021. This section will be updated as issues are resolved or new issues are identified. Please contact our User Support team at to report any problems you encounter.

Keyboard accessibility

  • No issues known at this time. The website should be fully accessible with a keyboard.

Screen Reader accessibility

  • All parts of the site are tagged with the default English language attribute, even for books published in a different language. To access books in another language using your screen reader you will have to manually select the correct language in your screen reader settings.
  • The About dropdown menu links cannot be accessed by screen readers. These pages can instead be accessed by following the About link in the footer.

NVDA users:

  • Note that the language and original format filter fields in Advanced Full-Text Search and Advanced Catalog Search are designed to be accessible for keyboard and screen reader use. Navigation through the full list of options for these fields is controlled via up and down arrow keys rather than the Tab key to make it easier for keyboard and screen reader users to skip these fields and get to the bottom of the page. The up and down arrow key NVDA controls override this setting, so in order to navigate through the full list of options you will have to use Insert + F2 before each down or up arrow stroke to tell NVDA to treat these as normal keystrokes rather than NVDA controls. Alternately, you can search for the filter options you want to select using the Filter text input field instead of navigating through the full list.
  • NVDA may stop reading the download progress partway through a large download, but the download is still progressing and completion of the download will be announced.

Visual design accessibility issues

  • Color contrast: Most text and graphic interface elements meet WCAG 2.1 AA color contrast guidelines, except for suggested text in text input fields.
  • Font type can be modified with browser extensions (such as Helperbird in Chrome) on most of the site, except for text in dropdown form fields.

Error identification

  • Some searches in the About page, Full-Text Search, Search in a Book, and Search in a Collection that include special characters result in no errors identified or unclear error messages.
  • There is no suggestion to remove filters when a search yields no results in Search for a Collection.


Contact our member-led user support team for help!