By Aaron Elkiss, University of Michigan Library, Cross-posted from the University of Michigan Library Tech Talk Blog
Perspectives from HathiTrust
by Jeremy York (HathiTrust) and Kat Hagedorn (University of Michigan Library)
As reported in our monthly updates, we receive well over a hundred inquiries every month about quality problems with page images or OCR text of volumes in HathiTrust. That’s the bad news. The good news is that in most of these cases, there is something we can do about it. This blog post is intended to shed some light on our thinking and practices about quality in HathiTrust. We hope it will also encourage you to report any problems you might find so that we might have the opportunity to fix them, and deliver the highest quality collections we can for educational and research needs.
By Dan Cohen and Mike Furlough
The Digital Public Library of America and HathiTrust have had a strong relationship since DPLA’s inception in 2013. As part of our ongoing collaboration to host and make digitized books widely available, we are now working to see how we can provide our services to exciting new initiatives that bring ebooks to everyone.
The Humanities Open Book grant program, a joint initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is exactly the kind of program we wish to support, and we stand ready to do so. Under this funding program, NEH and Mellon will award grants to publishers to identify select previously published books and acquire the appropriate rights to produce an open access e-book edition available under a Creative Commons license. Participants in the program must deposit an EPUB version of the book in a trusted preservation service to ensure future access.
Just before the end of March we reached a significant milestone when we added the 5 millionth volume that is open for reading and downloading. Like any research library collection, HathiTrust is nothing if not eclectic, as evidenced by our 5 millionth volume, contributed by Ohio State University: A treatise on the disorders and deformities of the teeth and gums, explaining the most rational methods of treating their diseases by Thomas Berdmore (London, 1770). Berdmore was King George III’s dentist. According to his VIAF record he died at the age of 45 and his work was also published in Dutch. (Alert the medical historian in your family!)
By Mike Furlough, Executive Director, HathiTrust
Since I started as Executive Director of HathiTrust in May of this year, I have done nothing but learn: learn about the organization, our operations, our finances, our people, and our partnership. I have traveled quite a bit, especially this fall, paying visits to HathiTrust members (thank you, libraries of Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Harvard, and Northwestern), several meetings of library organizations and consortia (thank you TRLN, GWLA, COPPUL, and ASERL), as well as a couple of special focus meetings on digital humanities and newspaper digitization (thanks to you all as well).
Are you familiar with the Collections area of HathiTrust?
There are currently 940 public collections created by users and library staff members at partner institutions, including several we have featured. HathiTrust collections provide a way to aggregate digital items related to a common theme, or associated with a given physical collection or location (for instance, the University of Michigan has created a collection of its Hatcher Graduate Reference reading room). Items can be added to a collection from HathiTrust full-text search results pages. Once they have been added to a collection, the full-text and bibliographic metadata of items can be searched independently of the larger repository. Items in collections can also be quickly copied to new or existing collections. These features make collections an easy way to refine a set of search results, share batches of items with others, or (in the case of the Michigan Graduate Reference collection), allow staff and users to search within specific collections to find the book with that one particular index or obscure term that they can pull from the shelf for more information.
By Heather Chistenson, HathiTrust Communications Working Group
With over 10 million volumes, and full text search free from commercial results ranking, HathiTrust is a go-to place for researchers who are serious about exploring the research library collection. Many technologists in our community who follow the HathiTrust Large-scale Search Blog are aware of the work that has been going on since full text search went into beta and then live on the HathiTrust site in 2009. We’re pleased to report that in 2012 HathiTrust continues to make progress with the implementation of more new advanced search features. With the leadership of Tom Burton-West at the University of Michigan, there have been two new feature releases in the past few months.
HathiTrust reached a major milestone on January 5, 2012, exceeding 10 million volumes in its digital collections. More than 2.7 million of these volumes are in the public domain, with viewing and downloading options available online. Statistics about the collections and a graph charting growth over time are available below (see also Statistics and Visualizations). We have also prepared a timeline noting significant events on our way to 10 million volumes. As of January 5, 2012, 23 of HathiTrust's 67 partners are depositing content in the repository. Details on contributions by institution can be found in our monthly updates. See also our News and Publications page for press releases, papers, presentations, and more about HathiTrust over the last several years.
By Jenny Emmanuel, HathiTrust User Experience Advisory Group
The HathiTrust User Experience Advisory Group recently released a set of “personas” depicting typical users of HathiTrust Digital Library. Personas are aggregate statements that display information about typical users and their needs. They are a commonly used usability method that collects data from multiple sources, including website analytics, search logs, first person stories, researcher observations, and other methods which are then aggregated into a narrative to depict stories depicting who HathiTrust users are and how they used the information within HathiTrust.
By Suzanne Chapman, Chair, HathiTrust User Experience Advisory Group
Looking for books to read on your shiny new tablet or other mobile device? This fall we officially released a mobile version of the HathiTrust Digital Library. The mobile site offers mobile-friendly access to key functionality including searching the HathiTrust catalog and reading HathiTrust "Full view" texts. Users from HathiTrust partner institutions can also download these "Full view" texts in PDF or ePub format to allow reading offline. Since the mobile interface is web-based, it works on all platforms and may be viewed either from mobile devices or from desktops and laptops. The interface has special functionality for tablets with two ways to read texts: either in the vertical scrolling format, or in a horizontal flip format.
Please give it a try and let us know what you think!
Many thanks to the University of Michigan Library User Experience Department for designing and developing this exciting new interface.
On October 8-9, 2011 delegates from across the U.S. and around the world gathered in Washington, DC for a landmark event, the HathiTrust Constitutional Convention. Our goals were to review the work and accomplishments of the now 3-year-old HathiTrust, and chart its future governance and priorities. Before the group were seven different ballot proposals that had been submitted by HathiTrust partners ahead of the meeting. On a beautiful autumn weekend, the delegates headed indoors, gathered around tables, and deeply engaged in the proceedings and discussion.
It is a core tenet of HathiTrust that preservation cannot take place without access. The coupling of preservation and access is both philosophically and strategically central to HathiTrust’s mission, as awareness of the materials in our collections helps to create the value that leads to preservation. And because discovery is integral to access, HathiTrust has worked hard on a multi-pronged strategy for discovery.