ETAS: Information for Users
The Emergency Temporary Access Service makes it possible for authorized member library patrons to obtain lawful access to specific materials in the corpus, specifically digitized items in HathiTrust that correspond to physical books held by their own library when that book is not currently available due to the temporary disruption in service.
Not sure if your library has this service? If you know that your university is a HathiTrust member but you don’t see them on that page, please check with your university’s librarians to see if access is in progress or not. Some university libraries may not have met the criteria for the Emergency Temporary Access Service.
If HathiTrust has enabled the Emergency Temporary Access Service for your library, follow the instructions below to discover and read copyrighted books.
A Note on Terms of Service
Approved libraries offer this service under these Terms of Service. Please keep in mind the following as you are using items available for Temporary Access in HathiTrust:
These items may be protected by copyright law but are made available as Temporary Access due to involuntary closure of your library. No further reproduction or distribution is permitted by any means without the permission of the copyright holder.
Highlights of the Service
- Books currently available to you through the Emergency Temporary Access Service have the label “Temporary Access.” Through your university’s membership with HathiTrust, you can also get access to books that are marked “Full View” as you always do. Books marked “Limited (search-only)” are restricted based on the Terms of the Service, and you cannot access them.
- You can read “Temporary Access” books online only as long as your university is eligible for the Emergency Temporary Access Service. Access to certain books may also change over time as your library provides us with updated information about books it holds.
- “Temporary Access” books can be read only online. You cannot download “Temporary Access” titles. These restrictions are in place based on the Terms of the Service and our understanding of copyright law.
- “Temporary Access” books can be accessed only by students, staff, and faculty at the universities that have been approved for the service. Unfortunately, this service is not available to alumni/alumnae or individuals who have guest affiliations.
- You can check out a book for 1 hour. Your access will renew automatically at the end of that hour, unless another user requests the book after that hour is over.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the HathiTrust Digital Library? What can I find in here?
HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 18+ million digitized items contributed by the libraries. Learn more about our digital library.
- My university is closed. I can’t easily go to my library to get access to materials. May I have access to copyrighted books?
- Some universities and colleges have activated the Emergency Temporary Access Service. Through this service, users associated with that school can read books in the HathiTrust collection that are normally restricted from view. We make public a list of libraries currently using the service.
- I’m not affiliated with a university that has turned on the Emergency Temporary Access Service. I am also doing research. Can I have access?
- Unfortunately, at this time, we are able to provide this access only to students, staff and faculty who are associated with our member libraries.
- Why don’t I have access to a specific book?
- Through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service, you have full-view access to items in your institution’s library which match a digitized copy in HathiTrust. The data we use to identify these items is provided to HathiTrust by your campus library. The process of matching books in your library collection to books in the HathiTrust collection is dependent on a number of factors, and is not perfect.
- Unfortunately, we cannot turn on emergency access to individual books. Please follow up with your campus library to find out what other options are available to you.
- I keep getting the message that “All available copies are in use.” Why can’t I access the book?
- Through the Emergency Temporary Access Service, each university or library has access only to the number of digital copies that the library told us they had. If your library holds only 1 print copy on the shelves, then only 1 user affiliated with your university can access the digital book in HathiTrust at a time. Please be courteous, and return books as soon as you’re done with them.
- Why can’t I download this book?
- We do not allow downloading as part of the Emergency Temporary Access Service. Emergency temporary access is intended to help provide browser-based reading access to library collections when a library’s services are substantially disrupted by an involuntary emergency.
- Can I recall an item from another reader? OR Can I put a hold on an item?
- At this time, it is not possible to recall or put a hold on an item. The length of checkout for each item is 1 hour. To read a book that is being used by someone else, you will need to check back periodically.
- For how long can I check out an item?
- Items available through the Emergency Temporary Access Service can be checked out for 1 hour. If you are still actively looking at the book and no one else is attempting to check it out, the book will be renewed automatically.
- I had access to this book last month. Why don’t I have access to it now?
- Books that are labeled as “Temporary Access” are available only for a limited time as part of our Emergency Temporary Access Service. Your university may no longer qualify for that service, and consequently, we have turned off access to “Temporary Access” books for your university’s users.
- We are also working closely with our member libraries to refine which books are available through this service. Sometimes, this results in changes in access, as we get better information about which books your university library holds or no longer hold.
- How does the automatic renewal process work? What do I need to do to keep using the book if I need it longer?
- You will have access to the book as long as you are actively using it. More specifically:
- When User A checks out a book, they have protected access to it for 60 minutes. At the end of that 60 minutes, User A can lose access to the book if they haven’t loaded a new page in the book, and User B requests it. If, however, User A loads a new page in the book before User B requests it, then User A’s loan is extended for another hour, and User B can’t check it out for the duration of that hour. This continues every hour.
- In addition, we have a process in place to check for “stale” or “inactive” checkouts. If a user hasn’t loaded a new page in the book in 12 hours, then their access will expire automatically.
- I’m a member, and usually I can download a PDF file of the whole book. Why can’t I download this book?
- Books that are labeled with “Temporary Access” are provided through the Emergency Temporary Access Service. These books are more restricted, and we cannot provide download access to these books. These restrictions are in place based on the Terms of the Service and our understanding of copyright law. You may want to contact your campus library to see if they may be able to purchase an ebook version of this item that allows for download.
- I know my library has this book, but it’s unavailable to me.
- Through the Emergency Temporary Access Service, we provide users with access to books that are held on the shelves of their university library. We know what’s on the shelves of your university library because of data that your library sends us. However, sometimes that library data is incomplete or does not provide us with sufficient information to match our collection to your library’s collections. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have a process for reviewing that data. Please consult with your librarians to see what options are available to getting access to the book you’re interested in.
- I’m teaching a class, and the students all need access to the same book to finish an assignment. Can they all read it at the same time?
- We can provide simultaneous access only to the number of print copies that your library holds. For example, if your library holds only 1 print copy on the shelves, then only 1 user affiliated with your university can access the digital book in HathiTrust at a time. If your library holds 2 print copies, then only 2 users can access the digital book simultaneously. You may want to encourage your students to return the book as soon as they are done using it.
- How long will the emergency service last?
- When the service is in use by any member, we publish a list of HathiTrust members that currently have access and what we know about the expected duration of the service. This information is tentative and may change.
- May I email the page I downloaded to a friend? OR May I publish the image from the page I downloaded?
- The books made available through the Emergency Temporary Access Service are made available under the fair use sections of the United States Copyright Act. Copyright protections still exist for many of these books. Please see the HathiTrust Access and Use Policy for items in the collection. You need to make your own assessment of the copyright or other legal concerns related to uses beyond those provided by HathiTrust for particular works.