Part II Popular LibGuide Draws on HathiTrust Repository: Development and Maintenance of an Integrated LibGuide

October 4, 2018


Marie’s inspiration for the “Prices and Wages by Decade” LibGuide was the well-worn, paperback copy of The Value of a Dollar. With the HathiTrust’s collection of digitized U.S. Federal Documents, as well as those maintained by FRASER (Federal Reserve database), Marie has been able to build the site using links to primary source documents freely available in the public domain. Hosting and maintaining the site requires a site host, some website tools, a little raw labor, and a lot of passion for making information more easily available.

“This fills the gap that the general Internet can’t,” she explains, noting that Internet records or born-digital items in the federal government tend to express more recent data. Using the digitized and historic federal documents contributed to the HathiTrust corpus by member institutions, Marie provides a searchable, reputable source database. People want what she calls “fine-tuned historical evidence.”

The site points to U.S. government publications listing retail prices for typical consumer purchases and wages for common occupations. This includes prices on everything from homes to “boxes of corn flakes . . . canned corn . . . and dairy products.” In an example of retail prices from 1955, the site links directly to a page in HathiTrust’s digital repository citing Agricultural Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, digitized and contributed by The Ohio State University (HathiTrust member since 2008).

To build and operate the site, she uses her library’s existing content management system to integrate HathiTrust repository links, references, and stats. For some details, she relies on manual coding by student researchers. To track the site usage and measure it’s reach, Marie uses Google Analytics and Data Studio. But there’s always more she’d like to do . . .

She works on the site over the weekends and after 28 years in the library field, recognizes it as a highlight of her career. “There are so many more things to add to it!” she says. When she identified that most users of the LibGuide came from a mobile device, she optimized the site for mobile use. She’d like to add an accordion feature to make the amount of information easier to read.

As HathiTrust continues to acquire digitized U.S. Federal Documents and fill in missing volumes, Marie will continue to enrich the data in the “Prices and Wages by Decade” LibGuide and to refine the site. The 500,000+ annual site visitors may not know the behind-the-scenes story, but they will continue to gain the benefits.

What will you do with HathiTrust?


Read Part I: Unleashing the Power of U.S. Federal Documents

Is your institution using HathiTrust materials in a similar way? Do you have a resource you would like to share with other HathiTrust member institutions? Please contact Jessica Rohr, member engagement and communications specialist,