Available Indexes

Participating in Copyright Projects

Copyright Review Program

Open nomination of team members

As long as there remains work to be done, we will open up a nomination period where we accept applications for new team members to train and work on copyright review. We will be accepting nominations for a project we're calling Crown Copright that will begin in January 2020.

Crown Copyright project

    • nominations accepted from Nov. 1 - Dec. 16. (see link to nomination form below)
    • acceptance notifications go out December 20
    • 3 hrs/week, 1 calendar year commitment
    • Training sessions run January 13-16, 2020

The Crown Copyright project will be reviewing government documents from Australia, Canada, and the UK. This is a fairly simple copyright inquiry based upon the publication date and whether the document is subject to crown copyright. Participants will likely do web searching to determine the nature of the publisher using Wikipedia and open web resources listing Crown Bodies.

Nomination form -  Crown Copyright project (1879-1969) 


Work time is adjustable according to team member's schedule and seasonal swings. However, consistency each week is preferred. Training is provided by HathiTrust staff. No prior knowledge of copyright is necessary and all work is done remotely. Due to the effort required to train reviewers, we ask that members make at least a one-year commitment for their involvement.

You are eligible to nominate as a copyright review team member if:

  • you are currently employed at a HathiTrust partner institution
  • your institution approves your using regular work hours to meet the minimum weekly time commitment required per project 
  • you are available to attend the scheduled online training sessions or to promptly watch recordings of the training sessions


How to participate

During the nomination periods an open Google form will be sent out to HathiTrust primary contacts. Interested libraries or individuals wanting to self-nominate should fill it out. We will assess nominations based on availability of seats and inform applicants if they are accepted.

Many HathiTrust members, especially those who have recently joined, may be less familiar with how the program operates and the specifics of what participation entails. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Kristina Hall, keden@hathitrust.org.


Copyright Reviewer Job Description

The expectations and job description for reviewers investigating the copyright status of digitized works in HathiTrust are listed below.  Reviewers are designated by their institution to participate for a percentage of their regular work time.  

A copyright reviewer performs the following:

  • Scans through front matter to verify the book matches the project’s legal scope, such as falling within a date range and place of publication

  • Performs a comprehensive search of the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database

  • Looks through the book’s front and back matter for credits, permissions, or acknowledgements which may indicate the presence of other copyrighted content

  • Selects a rights code that matches the correct copyright status of the work

Each book is assessed by two copyright reviewers, working independently, who must agree on the book’s copyright status. Wherever legally possible, books identified as public domain are made accessible in HathiTrust. It is the responsibility of a reviewer to be diligent in their assessment and to follow the procedural guidelines set out in the decision tree and project wiki. It is essential that the reviewer pay close attention to detail and be comfortable asking questions in an unknown situation. A reviewer is responsible for following basic security protocol when given special access to potentially in-copyright book scans, and is forbidden from using special access for purposes other than copyright review. A reviewer may work more or less in any given week provided the overall effort accomplishes the total commitment and does not sustain inactivity for longer than 8 weeks.

Skills required: Fluent with computers and typing; able to read and follow instructions; consistent attention to detail; database searching such as wildcard and truncation; able to apply independent judgment in variable situations; basic conceptual understanding of bibliographic records and frontmatter.

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