Help - Using the Digital Library

Logging in

What are the benefits of logging in?

Logging in enables members of HathiTrust partner institutions to

  • Download full-PDFs of all public domain volumes, including those that are viewable but restricted from download due to third-party agreements (see see for more information on download).
  • Create public or private collections of materials using a local institutional sign-on.
  • Lawfully access in-copyright works in appropriate circumstances - (see accessibility and out-of-print and brittle for more information). Members do not in general have access to in-copyright works (we do not license access to in-copyright works).

Users that are not members are able to create permanent collections in Collection Builder using a University of Michigan "friend" account. Logging through a friend account does NOT provide access to full PDF downloads of public domain & open access items where not publicly available.

See the User's Guide to HathiTrust on our Resources page for a general introduction to searching, browsing, and creating collections of materials in HathiTrust.

Why isn't my institution listed on the login page?

HathiTrust has begun to provide additional services (see the question above) to users affiliated with partner institutions through an inter-institutional authentication mechanism called Shibboleth. Not all partners are configured to communicate with HathiTrust via Shibboleth currently, but we expect that all will be in the near future. Information about what is needed for partners to gain access via Shibboleth, as well as Terms and Conditions of use of Shibboleth services and Privacy are available at It is possible for all users to set up a University of Michigan friend account to use HathiTrust's collection-building feature, though this will not enable full-PDF download of items.

Can I login if I am not from a partner institution? What can I access?

If you are not a member of a partner institution, partner-specific authenticated services will not be available to you. You can search and access fully viewable materials in HathiTrust, and download materials where there are no third-party restrictions (see Why isn't full-PDF download publicly available for all viewable volumes? for more information). You can also sign up for a University of Michigan "Friend Account" in order to login and save personal collections of materials. More information on Friend accounts can be found here: See the User's Guide to HathiTrust on our Resources page for a general introduction to searching, browsing, and creating collections of materials in HathiTrust.

Searching and Viewing Books

Is it possible to view a volume that is Limited (search-only)?

In most cases, no. Volumes are Limited (search-only) because 1) we have determined they are, or they are suspected to be*, in copyright, or 2) we do not have enough information to make a determination.

*Note: Access to volumes in HathiTrust is dependent on the country a user is accessing from. All users are able to access

  1. open access or Creative Commons-licensed works in HathiTrust
  2. U.S. works published prior to 1923

In addition, users accessing HathiTrust from the United States are able to access non-U.S. works published prior to 1923. Access to non-U.S. works for users accessing from outside the United States is limited to works published prior to 1873. See Copyright for further details.

We do not provide selective access for persons or organizations to in-copyright works for which we have not received permissions, except as permitted by law. Lawful uses include several broad and general rubrics of use, including services for users with print disabilities and U.S. Copyright Law Section 108 uses of materials. Where we have secured permissions, we may offer privileged access for all authenticated users at all partners institutions.

We can and do routinely open access to materials with the permission of the rights holder, which includes the possibility of applying Creative Commons licenses (see our Permissions Agreement). Users are free to contact publishers or authors of materials if they wish, to request that the materials be opened in HathiTrust. If a volume was published in the United States from 1923 to 1963 and is Limited (search-only), it is possible that it could be in the public domain (see our Copyright page). Older works published outside the United States may also be out of copyright. If you suspect that a volume may no longer be in copyright, please contact us at

The Find in a Library link, available in the catalog record for items, and when viewing the items themselves, can be used to located the nearest print copy.

How can I search HathiTrust?

There are 5 ways to search items in HathiTrust, which are all accessible from

  1. Catalog Search:
    1. Catalog HathiTrust catalog at Search bibliographic fields such as Title, Author, Publication Date.
    2. WorldCat Local prototype catalog at Search keywords or conduct an advanced search of bibliographic records in this new catalog based on OCLC’s WorldCat Local platform.
  2. Full-text Search: Use keywords to search the full-text of all items in HathiTrust.
  3. Collection Builder: Search inside a collection of materials that you or others have created
  4. Single-volume Search: When viewing an item in PageTurner (see example), use keywords to search inside that volume alone.

What is the difference between the current HathiTrust catalog and WorldCat Local prototype catalog?

The catalog search at was designed as a temporary catalog, but is still the primary HathiTrust catalog search. The new WorldCat Local Prototype catalog, also accessible via a link at, is the first version of a HathiTrust built on OCLC's WorldCat Local interface. We are currently gathering feedback for this prototype to inform a second version of the catalog.

What are the special features I need to be aware of when using the WorldCat Local prototype?

In the HathiTrust WorldCat Local prototype, you have access not only to the HathiTrust collections but also to OCLC’s massive database of worldwide library collections. From any record, see the “Find a copy in a library” section to see which libraries hold a print copy of the item. You can also limit your search results to volumes that are only full view or limited view, using the “View” facet on the left hand side of the search results screen.

How can I view the full MARC Cataloging Record for an item or group of items?

It is possible to view the full record by adding a .xml or .marc extension to the URL when viewing the record in the catalog (e.g., or

Search Tips

Primary Catalog Search:

  • Phrase Searching: Use quotes to search an exact phrase: e.g., "occult fiction"
  • Wildcards: Use * or ? to search for alternate forms of a word. Use * to stand for several characters, and ? for a single character: e.g., optim* will find optimal, optimize or optimum; wom?n will find woman and women. If you would simply like to browse without entering a search term you can enter * by itself.
  • Boolean Searching: Use AND and OR (capitalized) between words to combine them with Boolean logic: e.g., (heart OR cardiac) AND surgery will find items about heart surgery or cardiac surgery

Full-text Search:

  • Phrase Searching: Use quotes to search an exact phrase: e.g., "occult fiction"
  • Multiple Term Searching: When your search terms are not quoted phrases, avoid common words (such as: 'a', 'and', 'of', 'the', etc.) to speed up your search.
  • Boolean Searching: Use AND and OR (capitalized) between words to combine them with Boolean logic: e.g., heart OR cardiac will find items containing the word heart or the word cardiac; heart AND cardiac will find items containing both words. Use a minus (-) to remove words from the result e.g., heart  -cardiac will find items containing the word heart that do not include the word cardiac.
  • As in the catalog, if you would simply like to browse without entering a search term you can enter * by itself.

Full-text Advanced Search

  • In advanced full-text search, you can also use the "all of these words" dropdown instead of AND or OR. For instance, a search for

    [all of these words] heart cardiac

    is equivalent to a search for heart AND cardiac and will find items with both terms, while

    [any of these words] heart cardiac

    is equivalent to heart OR cardiac and will find items with either one or both words.


    Advanced AND Search Example  Advanced Search OR Example

Can I search the full-text of a subset of books?

Yes. In Collection Builder, you can search all the books in a private or public collection. See What can I do with my collection for more information on Collection Builder searching.

How do I conduct an advanced search?

Advanced search is available in the primary catalog, WorldCat Local Prototype, and full-text search. Please see the "Search Tips" above for further information.

Is non-linguistic content searchable (graphs, charts, illustrations, etc.)?

Non-linguistic content is not searchable at the present time.

Are "wildcard" searches possible?

Yes. In the primary catalog (, a "wildcard" search is formed by appending the asterisk character (*) to the end of the term. For example, "fond*" would find "fond," "fondest," "fondly," etc.

Do I need to use diacritics and accents in my search?

In the primary catalog ( and full-text search, if the work is in a Latin alphabet with diacritical marks, it is not necessary to enter the character with diacritical marks. For example, you may enter "Émile," "émile," "Emile," or "emile" and a page containing any of these forms will be found.

Can I search items not printed in a Latin alphabet?

Yes. We are receiving searchable text for volumes in a variety of non-Western scripts including Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Our goal is full international coverage. If you are having trouble searching a volume, please let us know by using the feedback link at the top of the page.

What does "Page not available" mean?

This message is displayed in 3 cases:

  1. Pages were missing from the library's print copy of the book. If a book does have a missing page, this generally means that two pages are missing, since publishers generally print on both sides of the page. So, if pages 81-82 of a book are missing, there should be two pages with the message "Page not available" between pages 80 and 83.
  2. One or more pages were not scanned.
  3. In some cases, Google will misidentify a page, leading them to believe that a page is missing when it is not. For example, if they misidentify p. 206 as "205" they will think p. 206 is missing. They will insert a page to display "Page not available," although there is no missing page. Please notify us using the feedback form if you believe that a page has been misidentified in this way.

What is the difference between page numbers and 'sequence numbers'?

Sequence numbers indicate the order of the physical pages of the book, and they rarely match up with pagination, which is inserted by printers. The sequence numbers start with the very first image in the book, which is usually the front cover. Thus, the sequence number and the page number will rarely be the same. We have sequence numbers for all items, but some items may not have page numbers (items digitized early in Google's process, in particular, are lacking page number tagging).

Can I view the page with the search term highlighted on it?

Search terms are not highlighted on the page images, but for works we can show you, they are highlighted in the text view. Do your search in the box in the upper right-hand corner of the page display. You'll see your search terms highlighted on the search results page. Follow the link to a page or sequence number, change the format to text, and you will see the search term highlighted on the text view in the page display.

Can I "bookmark" certain pages or portions of books or include them in a collection?

These are not features that we have available now, but we will be collecting requests as part of our development process. Please submit suggestions via our feedback form.

Do these books comply with accessibility standards for users with disabilities?

Our system conforms to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, priority 1 <>. The system can display each page either as an image or as text (although due to the limitations of Optical Character Recognition software the text may contain errors). Text is available one page at a time and is readable by screen readers. If you are aware of ways in which we can improve accessibility, please tell us how we can make it better using the feedback link provided at the top of each page. Please see our webpage on accessibility for more information.


Building Collections in Collection Builder

How do I build a collection?

Items can be added to collections either from the PageTurner interface, where pages of the book are viewed, or from the search results page in Full-text Search. In the PageTurner, the collection building feature is in the left sidebar. In the Full-text Search, items in the results list can be selected using the check boxes next to each item and added to a collection using the drop-down menu at the top of the list. In both cases, items can be added to a new or existing permanent collection, or a temporary collection (a temporary collection is automatically created if the user is not logged in). Permanent collections may be private to the user or shared publicly with others. Items that are saved to collections can be searched independently of the rest of the repository, allowing users to perform focused searches on subsets of HathiTrust materials.

What can I do with my collection?

The primary purposes of building a colleciton include: being able to search within it; saving books for future reference; sharing a collection of books with other users by making your collection public. In addition, you can download information about your collection.

Can I download information about my collection?

Yes, you can download select data elements for your collection. Under the description of your collection is a button that allows you to “download metadata.” When you click this button, your browser will begin to download a plain text file (.txt). Depending on the size of your collection, this may take a few seconds to download.

The file contains the following data elements, which are separated with tabs:

  • htitem_id - the HathiTrust item identifier which is used to uniquely identify every HathiTrust digital item
  • title
  • author
  • date - the publication date for the item in question. This date is derived from the catalog record.
  • rights - the copyright status for this item as determined by HathiTrust (for the full list of rights codes used in our system, please see “Attributes” on this page)
  • a series of identifiers commonly used by libraries: OCLC, LCCN, ISBN
  • catalog_url - the url for the catalog record with which the item in question is associated
  • handle_url - the permanent url for the HathiTrust digital item

In order to sort or otherwise work with the data, you may choose to copy the contents of this file into a spreadsheet.

You can also perform a search within the collection and download the results of that search.

Can I search all items in the HathiTrust Digital Library?

Yes. Searching and faceted browsing of all items is available through the Catalog and the Full-text Search, available at Full-text search allow you to add search results directly to your collections.

Can I include items not in the HathiTrust Digital Library in my collection?

No, currently you can only include items that are held in the HathiTrust Digital Library.


Can I download a whole book?

Users affiliated with HathiTrust partner institutions are able to download full-PDFs of all public domain works, and works made available in under Creative Commons licenses. Users who are not affiliated with HathiTrust partner institutions can download single-page PDFs of all public domain works, full-PDFs of works made available under Creative Commons licenses, and full-PDFs of public domain works that are not subject to third-party agreements (see "Why isn't full-PDF download publicly available for all viewable items" below). There is significant overlap of volumes in HathiTrust and Google Book Search and if a book is "full view" in HathiTrust, it is possible that a PDF of the entire book can be downloaded from Google Book Search. Note that logging in through a Friend account does not enable full-PDF download of Google-digitized materials.

Can I download only a portion of a book such as an article or chapter?

Yes, you can manually select what pages you would like to download. For books where only members are allowed to download the full PDF (see for more information), only members have the option to download portions of the book.

Click in the upper corner of the pages you would like to download in order to select those pages, and those pages will be added to your download selection. An orange border will appear, and the upper corner of the page will appear “folded” down. To deselect the page, click again in the corner.

Image of mouse clicking on corner of page

You can select pages and ranges that are not adjacent to each other.

To select a range of pages, select the first page of the range, navigate to the last page of your desired range, and shift+click to select the range. All pages in the range should now have an orange border to indicate they are selected. You can navigate to different ranges and pages that you have selected by clicking the selection dropdown menu that appears in the toolbar above the pages.

Image of toolbar above page, focusing on paperclip icon

When you have finished selecting all of the pages that you would like to include in your pdf, click the link in the left sidebar to “Download N pages (PDF)” where N indicates the number of pages you have selected. After you have downloaded the selected pages as a PDF, your selection will disappear.

Why isn't full-PDF download publicly available for all viewable volumes?

The uses of materials in HathiTrust may be defined by third-party agreements. For instance, libraries' agreements with Google require us to take steps to prevent bulk download of materials they have digitized. We offer full-PDF download of Google-digitized materials to partner institutions because we are able to work with partners to ensure that use is within acceptable parameters. Public domain works deposited in HathiTrust without restrictions and works made available by rights holders under Creative Commons licenses are available for full public download.

Can you send me a book (or more than one book) on a CD-ROM?

We cannot provide digital copies of these volumes.

Can I see statistics on how often a particular item is accessed?

Librarians from member insitutions may request access to the HathiTrust Google Analytics profile in order to view statistics.

Where is the persistent URL for a book I'm viewing?

The persistent URL for each volume is displayed in the left sidebar when viewing an item. We use the "handle" form of persistent URLs.

How can I get a physical copy of something I'm viewing?

Click on the "Find in a library" link in the catalog or when viewing an item to find a copy at a library near you. If you do not have access to a nearby library or the item is not available locally, you may request it through Inter-library Loan. Check with your host or local library for details.

Scanning/OCR Quality

How do I report page images that are hard to read, missing, or otherwise problematic?

Please use the feedback form that is available at the top of each page to report any problems you encounter. For problems that are found in images digitized by Google: Google is continually improving the quality of the images and OCR it delivers to HathiTrust partners. Over time we will be replacing low-quality scanned images with better ones.

Why is the text view for some books full of misspelled words?

The searchable text of these volumes is produced through a process called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). OCR software "reads" the page images and makes a best guess at identifying the letters and words on a page. This is an automated process, subject to error, particularly if the original printing or the scan is of poor quality, if the printed fonts are difficult to read, or if the text is lightly printed. Even the best quality OCR usually contains an error or two per page. While this does not usually cause significant problems with searching, it does mean that the OCR text is not a faithful reproduction of the printed (or scanned) original.

Does the quality of scanned images affect the way they can be searched?

Even poorer quality texts will be searchable but they are more prone to OCR errors and thus the ability to retrieve every occurrence of a term will be diminished. Text quality can be improved by improvements in OCR software and by human correction. We will incorporate better text whenever possible.

Can I submit corrected text for a page/title?

We do not yet have a system in place to accept corrected text. We hope to have one in place in the future since feedback and assistance from the user community will help us to improve quality.


How do I contact HathiTrust with suggestions?

HathiTrust is very interested in user feedback and in collecting suggestions for improving the repository. Please submit your comments through the feedback form at the top of every page. If you have questions about copyright, partnership, or general questions about HathiTrust, you may also contact us at

What kinds of things will the HathiTrust Digital Library be able to do in the future?

We will be working on the functionality of the repository in the coming years. Our goals include better navigation of the books, supporting scholarly citation, and the ability to support computational research.

I don't see my question here. Where can I go for more help?

You can click on the "Feedback" link at the top of every page, or send email to