Approved September 5, 2019

A. Governance

HathiTrust’s mission is to “contribute to research, scholarship, and the common good by collaboratively collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.” Development and stewardship of the HathiTrust collection is part of the core mission HathiTrust’s collaborative agenda since its inception.

The Program Steering Committee places a high value and priority on advancing the scale, scope, quality and value of the collection in service of HathiTrust’s mission and strategic objectives. Ten years after the founding of HathiTrust, its 2019-2023 Strategic Directions continue to emphasize the importance of ongoing strategic focus on collection development. The plan states the need to “include many voices and perspectives in our collections” and enhance its quality, deepening the library “by a targeted, intentional strategy for new and retrospective publications” and by developing “new analytic capacities” for, among other uses, collection development. The Program Steering Committee charges the Digital Collection Strategy Working Group as an important mechanism for advancing the strategic work of the Program Steering Committee and HathiTrust’s operations around the digital collection.

B. Charge

In keeping with the goals of the HathiTrust 2019-2023 Strategic Directions, the Digital Collections Strategy Working Group has as its overall objective the continued diversification of the digital library’s holdings with regard to represented subjects, genres of holdings, years of publication, availability of in-copyright and out of copyright materials, language, and geographic origin. The Digital Collections Strategy Working Group seeks to integrate the enrichment and development of the corpus into the overall service that HathiTrust provides to users and members. To support this strategy, the Digital Collections Strategy Working Group extends the capacity of the Program Steering Committee to “fulfill the collections mission of HathiTrust” by its expertise and concentration on the following tasks:

  1. Identify and encourage local initiatives by HathiTrust members to contribute new and underrepresented material to the corpus; support or leverage generalizable approaches that can be built upon by the HathiTrust member community.

  2. Promote understanding of the relationship of HathiTrust holdings to other large-scale collections, with the specific goal of enhancing the diversity and strength of otherwise underrepresented digital materials in the HathiTrust Digital Library corpus.

  3. Encourage member engagement in new material digitization and contribution to establish HathiTrust as a model for decentralized and collaborative collection design.

  4. Highlight and support ways the corpus can build equitable access to the world’s knowledge, especially through the digital library’s support for accessibility and commitment to open sharing and distribution of the cultural and historical record.

C. Initial Focuses

  1. Perform an environmental scan of member and user collection priorities for diversification of the HathiTrust collection.


The Working Group works with HathiTrust staff to review available usage reports, new volume/item requests, and collection services data; identifies collection topics on which to engage members and users in providing feedback; explores opportunities for co-investment in promoting collection growth; and gathers information on subject- and format-specific collection building by member and user communities to identify new collections of opportunity for HathiTrust collection development.


  • Available information from HathiTrust operations about web-usage and members’ new-volume acquisitions from supplied holdings data.

  • Support for a member survey or interviews of member institutions to identify collection enrichment focuses that would inspire member co-investment.

  • Potential support for member engagement in identifying member reactions to some initial proposed focuses (coming from the group)


Iterative engagement of PSC in the findings of these explorations should occur through the first year of the group’s work. The scan should be complete within a year resulting in a brief report or other reporting appropriate for sharing with members.

  1. Grow members’ understanding of the contents of the HathiTrust corpus from a variety of perspectives, whether through an analysis of subject, genre, language, or format strengths or other available lenses.


The Working Group will work with HathiTrust staff to determine how best to develop and share knowledge about the content and collection strengths in the digital library corpus. HathiTrust staff are working to develop capabilities for members to compare their collections to the HathiTrust collection. The Working Group will be a key partner in assessing feasibility and setting priorities for potential analytics services. The Working Group will engage the PSC in exploring perceived gaps or areas in need of further collection development, particularly those that affect the overall diversity of the digital library. The Working Group also seeks to shed light on topical strengths and areas of focused excellence that will be of interest to users and members.


  • Engagement of HathiTrust staff involved with developing member-oriented collection analytics capabilities.
  • Any available reports or other analytics describing the corpus or comparing HathiTrust holdings with member holdings


Iterative engagement of PSC in the results of these activities should occur through the first year of the group’s work. The work should be complete within a year resulting in a brief report or other reporting appropriate for sharing with members.

  1. Based on the environmental scan of opportunities for collection enrichment and the development of member-facing collection analytics, identify a pilot project for targeted, collaborative collection development.


Synthesizing its findings from the first work focus with its deepened knowledge of the corpus and members’ abilities to assess their capabilities to contribute to enriching the corpus, the Working Group will develop a proposed focus for a coordinated collection enhancement project. The Working Group should also recommend a mechanism for member engagement in the proposed enrichment project and an assessment of resources/support needed. PSC engagement, HathiTrust staff feasibility assessment, and member input should be sought in finalizing the proposed focus and also in recommended approach to implementing the project.


  • Engagement of HathiTrust staff involved with supporting member ingest and analytics.
  • HathiTrust staff support for engaging member input into the Working Group’s planning.


Iterative engagement of PSC in the group’s progress on this focus should occur through the first year of the group’s work. The work should be complete within 18 months resulting in a report and/or other reporting appropriate for sharing with members.

D. Reporting

The Digital Collections Strategy Working Group reports to the HathiTrust Program Steering Committee, regularly informing and engaging PSC in its work. Working groups may perform work as a whole, use subgroups, create task forces under PSC advisement, etc. in order to provide advisory documents, reports, and regular recommendations to the PSC. A PSC liaison for the Digital Collections Strategy Working Group is appointed by the PSC to help facilitate ongoing engagement of PSC in the group’s work.

E. Membership/Composition/Term

The Digital Collections Strategy Working Group should consist of at least 6 members appointed in 3 staggered term-length cohorts of individuals from member institutions, at least 1 HathiTrust staff member, and 1 liaison to the PSC. One of the members from a HathiTrust member institution should serve as a convener and chair for the working group. For members appointed from HathiTrust member institutions, the recommended qualifications for selecting working group members should be:

  • Aim to achieve a balanced representation of HathiTrust member institutions with regard to size, global locations, and participation of that institution across other task forces and working groups of the PSC.

  • Seek members for the working group who are first and foremost ready to contribute actively to projects, though expertise in the following areas may prove helpful:

    • Collection development

    • Shared and consortial resource development or management

    • Digitization and bibliographic management

    • Rights remediation, assessment, and policy