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HathiTrust Job Announcement - Executive Director

HathiTrust invites nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director. We are seeking an innovative and forward-looking leader to advance the mission and strategic objectives of HathiTrust, a growing partnership of research and academic libraries that are working together to ensure permanent access to the record of human knowledge. The Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of HathiTrust and is responsible for the administration of all of its operations and programs.


Applications should be made through the posting on the University of Michigan jobs site (click "Apply Now" toward the upper right of the screen). Nominations may be sent to hathitrust-ed-nomination@umich.edu.


HathiTrust was established in 2008 by a group of research libraries engaged in large-scale digitization to preserve and provide access to their library collections. The libraries recognized the tremendous advantages that could be gained by pooling their efforts to provide a common infrastructure for their digitized collections, and, leveraging this shared collection, to take coordinated steps to address specific challenges that libraries face – challenges in increasing access to materials, gaining efficiencies in the management of print and digital collections, and enhancing services to better support traditional and new forms of scholarship and research. In the five years since the partnership was launched, more than 80 institutions from several countries have joined HathiTrust, creating a vibrant community of institutions united by a common purpose and a common vision for moving their collections and services into the 21st century.

The digital repository created and collaboratively managed by the libraries contains nearly 11 million public domain and in-copyright volumes, digitized from the partnering libraries and other sources. Nearly 3.5 million of these volumes are in the public domain. The repository was certified in 2011 by the Center for Research Libraries as a Trustworthy Digital Repository. Materials preserved in HathiTrust are made available in accordance with copyright law as a shared scholarly resource for students, faculty, and researchers at the partnering institutions, and as a public good for all.


Legally constituted as part of the University of Michigan, HathiTrust is a partnership of colleges, universities, and libraries working for educational, administrative, scientific, and charitable purposes, including, but not limited to collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge. 

HathiTrust is governed by a twelve-member Board of Governors. Six members of the Board are appointed by the founding HathiTrust institutions and six are elected for three-year terms from the partnership at large. In addition to the elected and appointed members, the Executive Director serves as a non-voting member of the Board. The Executive Director also serves on a five-member Executive Committee; the four additional members are elected by the Board. Representatives from partnering institutions participate in governance by voting in partner-wide decisions and serving on steering committees and task forces for various initiatives.

The total annual operating budget for HathiTrust is currently approximately $3 million. Central administration and project support for the partnership are provided by a relatively small number of staff (5 FTE). The majority of work to manage the repository and execute partner initiatives is conducted by staff at the partnering institutions. In this way, in addition to the formal governance structure, HathiTrust is a truly “member-driven” organization. Its key strengths lie in its close connection with partnering institutions and its high degree of responsiveness to partner needs.

HathiTrust’s mission, goals, and preliminary objectives were established by an Executive Committee that was formed in 2008 by the founding HathiTrust institutions. The Board of Governors was established through a collaborative process in 2011 in which, following a comprehensive review of HathiTrust activities by an advisory board, representatives from the partnering institutions assembled to vote on specific ballot initiatives. A new governance structure is one of the initiatives that was passed. The Board of Governors is responsible for setting and reviewing HathiTrust’s mission and strategic agenda, and ensuring alignment of this agenda with the aims of the partnering institutions.


Copyright Review. Since 2008, staff at HathiTrust institutions have been engaged in IMLS-funded work to identify works in HathiTrust that, for reasons not apparent through bibliographic data, are in the public domain. As a result of this work, hundreds of thousands of works formerly presumed to be in copyright have been made available.

HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). In 2013 HathiTrust launched a state-of-the-art research center to offer computational access to materials in the repository. The first phase of the HTRC focuses on enabling research across the publicly accessible materials in HathiTrust. The second phase will focus on access on a limited basis to in-copyright materials.

Government Documents. HathiTrust has engaged in a project to preserve and make accessible a comprehensive corpus of US federal government documents. Work began in early 2013 to build a formal registry of documents, to include information about whether the documents are in digital form, to facilitate their inclusion in HathiTrust.

Lawful Access to In-Copyright Materials. HathiTrust provides access to in-copyright works to users at partner institutions under specific conditions. These include access to users who are certified as having a print disability, and access to works that are damaged or missing and out of print. HathiTrust seeks to enable the broadest possible availability and uses of works in the repository, within the bounds of law.

Shared Print Monograph Archive. HathiTrust is making plans to develop a distributed network of print monograph archives, with holdings corresponding to the digital holdings in HathiTrust. This initiative is part of HathiTrust’s efforts to aid libraries in reducing the long-term costs of storing and caring for print collections.

Zephir.  A state-of-the-art bibliographic data management system, Zephir was developed by the California Digital Library to fulfill the particular needs of the HathiTrust Repository. Zephir is the first component of the repository that will be hosted and managed separately from core infrastructure administered by the University of Michigan. It is expected to be in production in Fall 2013.

Digital Preservation Network (DPN). The Digital Preservation Network is an emerging ecosystem of repositories working to ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of the scholarly record. HathiTrust is participating in DPN to define its technical, business, and administrative models.


Under the general supervision of the Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan and reporting to the HathiTrust Board of Governors, the Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of HathiTrust and is responsible for the administration of all HathiTrust operations and programs. The HathiTrust Executive Director serves in a non-voting role on the HathiTrust Board of Governors and its Executive Committee.  The Executive Director also serves in a non-voting capacity on the Program Steering Committee and provides counsel to that body, relating programmatic initiatives to operational activities underway in HathiTrust and relating new initiatives to legal frameworks within which HathiTrust works.  The Executive Director is an employee of the University of Michigan, and operates within the rules and policies of the University of Michigan.

The Executive Director, in partnership with the Board and the HathiTrust membership, helps establish the strategic agenda of HathiTrust. She or he engages with the HathiTrust membership and external partners to advance that agenda and has primary responsibility for developing and implementing strategic planning by HathiTrust.  Willingness to relocate to Ann Arbor, Michigan is helpful but not required.


Works in partnership with the Board to lead HathiTrust and engages with the Board in raising and discussing topics of strategic importance to the membership.  Anticipates and addresses the needs of member institutions and consults with the membership on relevant issues of importance to the community.

Serves as an advocate for the HathiTrust membership and an articulate spokesperson about the issues related to HathiTrust’s mission of contributing “to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.”

Builds strategic alliances with key organizations to advance HathiTrust’s strategic plan and agenda. Communicates and leads programmatic interactions with related organizations in North America and abroad.  Recruits, develops, and retains talented HathiTrust staff. 


The next Executive Director will join a financially stable, future-oriented, and agile organization at a time when pressures for deep collaboration in libraries are increasing, and when the opportunities created by shared digital collections have become significant. The Executive Director must have the skills and intellectual agility necessary to take advantage of this dynamic moment on behalf of HathiTrust member institutions.                               

The Executive Director should be an authority on the ways in which digital preservation and access take place, and the ways that increasing access to library collections can advance the needs of libraries and society.  The incumbent must be well versed in the ways in which current and emerging digital technologies are and can be used to facilitate digital preservation and deep sharing of libraries collections online.  She or he not only must be ready to address the issues surrounding online collections, but also legal frameworks and must be a persuasive leader in the effort to build models of deep library sharing for the next century. She or he must have a grounded understanding of the library community and the role of the HathiTrust in it.                                               


HathiTrust seeks an energetic and forward-looking leader to advance the role of research and academic libraries in curation of the record of human knowledge.  The next Executive Director will have a unique opportunity to influence public policy and lead the transformation of libraries in this key area through HathiTrust’s strategic agenda. A substantive knowledge of library collections, digital archiving, and the role of libraries in the information environment (particularly technology and intellectual property) is essential. The successful candidate will demonstrate a willingness and commitment to engage in national and international public policy arenas.                                        

Other important skills and characteristics:

  • Knowledge of emerging digital technologies and their potential within the domains of digital preservation, scholarship and scholarly communication;
  • Familiarity with copyright and the intellectual property environment in which libraries do their work;
  • Proven managerial ability in a complex multi-institutional setting, including capable fiscal management and management of distributed human resources;
  • The ability to build strategic alliances and collaborations with a variety of relevant organizations;
  • The expertise to advocate for HathiTrust strategic agendas with diplomacy, political acumen, and a bias toward collaborative action;
  • The proficiency to work with a member-elected Board of Governors and Executive Committee, and to engage members in substantive discussions about HathiTrust’s programs and its future;
  • An aptitude for comprehending the dynamics of an institutional membership organization;
  • The ability and willingness to seek out and obtain resources for the development of HathiTrust;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills;
  • A management style that is consultative and inclusive;
  • Demonstrated leadership in diversity within organizations, with evidence of support and accomplishment;
  • Academic credentials appropriate to a senior-level leadership position in a modern research-intensive library, including an ALA-accredited Master’s degree or an advanced degree in a relevant field.


Rank and salary are dependent on qualifications and experience.  As a professional appointment in the University of Michigan University Library, this position offers full benefits and opportunities for professional development and travel, and participates fully in faculty governance.

Application Deadline

Review of applications will begin September 30, 2013 and continue until the position is filled.