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Process to Change Shared Print Policies

The HathiTrust Shared Print Program is based on a pledge among the member libraries to maintain the scholarly record over a long period of time. The defining documents were designed to balance two important needs: 1) ensure a strong long-term commitment from the Retention Libraries so all member libraries may rely on the ongoing availability of the retained holdings; and 2) remain flexible enough to accommodate future changes that member libraries may determine to be necessary.

The defining documents are structured in two parts:

  • The Program Agreement
  • The Operating Policies and Guidelines

The Program Agreement that HathiTrust Retention Libraries are asked to execute contains the most fundamental terms that define the program and is expected to be modified only exceptionally over the 25 year retention period, because modification would require that all Retention Libraries re-execute the Agreement. The Operating Policies and Guidelines, on the other hand, are designed to be able to evolve as HathiTrust member libraries implement the program into their daily operations and identify improvements or new situations. Therefore, the Agreement refers to the external Operating Policies that are maintained on the public HathiTrust website.

Because the Operating Policies and Guidelines are expected to change over time, HathiTrust has developed the following policy change process to request and consider changes. The process has been designed intentionally to be general and flexible enough to handle unknown future occurrences. The policy change process itself may be modified from time to time by the Shared Print Advisory Committee (SPAC) with approval by the Program Steering Committee (PSC).

Shared Print Policy Change Process

Prior to making a formal request for changes, members are encouraged to consult with HathiTrust staff and/or members of the Shared Print Advisory Committee to explore the rationales behind current policies and guidelines, promote consideration of the benefits and effects of potential changes on member libraries, and to provide assistance in formulating a specific proposal for change.

1. Following consultation, any HathiTrust member library (whether a Retention Library or not) may propose a change to a Shared Print Operating Policy and/or its associated Guidelines. To propose a change, the member library’s Primary Contact or Shared Print Contact sends a request in writing to the HathiTrust Shared Print Program Officer describing the proposed change with a brief summary of the rationale for the change.

2. The Shared Print Advisory Committee (SPAC) will consider the policy change request. Depending on the nature of the change and other requests that may have been received, SPAC may choose to group the request with others and/or consider the request at a later time. When SPAC considers the policy change request, SPAC and the Shared Print Program Officer will draft suggested revised policy language in conjunction with the requester(s)

3.SPAC and/or the Shared Print Program Officer will maintain communication with the requester(s) about progress of the change request. A requester may withdraw the request at any time.

4. SPAC will request feedback on the proposed policy change from all HathiTrust members and from Retention Libraries in particular to understand the possible impact of the change on those libraries. Feedback from or adverse impacts on Retention Libraries will be given substantial weight in considering any policy revision. The mechanism for providing feedback may include surveys, webinars, small group meetings, or other methods.

5. If SPAC supports the proposed change after considering feedback, SPAC will recommend the change for approval by the Program Steering Committee (PSC ) along with a proposed implementation schedule. In some cases, PSC and the HathiTrust Executive Director may determine that the proposed change also would require approval by the Board of Governors, based on the likely impact of the changes on member libraries or HathiTrust operations or if a HathiTrust member library requests Board review.

6. Upon final approval by PSC or the Board (as applicable), HathiTrust will change the policy on the HathiTrust Shared Print website and communicate the change and its implementation schedule to HathiTrust members. If the proposed change is not adopted, HathiTrust will communicate the results of the review process to the requesting library(ies) and other members, including posting the result on the website to maintain a history of change requests

7. Any Retention Library that prefers not to continue participating in the Shared Print Program as a result of a policy change may take advantage of the “Early Withdrawal” provisions of the HathiTrust Shared Print Program Agreement (Section 3).

This process was approved by the Program Steering Committee and Board of Governors in spring 2018.