Available Indexes

Communications Working Group Charge


When HathiTrust was launched the primary focus for outreach was the library community, targeting both partners and potential new research library partners. HathiTrust was concerned with communicating what the digital library was, the benefits it could offer, and the progress of the partnership in areas such as storage redundancy, bibliographic and full-text search capabilities, partner ingest, etc. The need to communicate with the immediate audience about these aspects of the repository has not diminished. However, as HathiTrust and its services have both evolved and HathiTrust has fulfilled many of its initial objectives, there is a need to expand the scope of communications and outreach. There is a particular need to enrich engagement with users of HathiTrust at partner institutions, including faculty, students, and librarians. A working group on Communications is therefore assembled to address the changing needs of HathiTrust outreach. It is charged as follows:

The Communications working group:

  1. In consultation with the Executive Director, the Executive Committee and the Strategic Advisory Board, identifies and prioritizes needs in outreach for HathiTrust, including current and potential audiences, and areas where particular attention is needed (e.g., quality, value added services, etc.)
  2. Develops strategies and utilizes a variety of mechanisms to communicate with audiences about key issues, as well as ongoing information about HathiTrust features, services, and plans. Works closely with other HathiTrust working groups and committees on issues such as highlighting collections, external links and search engine optimization. Some of these mechanisms and strategies include the following (contacts in parentheses):
    1. The HathiTrust website (Project Librarian)
    2. HathiTrust newsletters and blogs (Project Librarian)
    3. Press releases (Project Librarian)
    4. Surveys (User Research Working Group)
    5. User feedback mechanisms (User Research Working Group)
    6. Social networking sites (Project Librarian)
    7. Speaking and presentation (Executive Director)
    8. Award and recognition applications (Executive Director)
  3. Actively seeks opportunities to raise awareness about HathiTrust both within the partnership and externally.
  4. Advocates for HathiTrust in public forums such as news articles, blogs, and wikis that are written and maintained by others, where appropriate.
  5. Recommends communication mechanisms (tools and processes) that are sustainable, that can be changed as needs change, and that can accommodate one-time or short-lived needs as well as ongoing ones.

The working group will address identified needs, and reach out often into the partnership to identify individuals and assemble groups to address specific issues (e.g., to request a presentation be prepared on a particular topic, or form a group to reorganize or edit sections of the website). A significant degree of interaction with the User Research Working Group on issues relating to the HathiTrust websites and services is required. The Communications Working Group must be sensitive to the public relations needs of the partner institutions and work closely with institutions to coordinate public announcements about partner developments and contributed services. It will meet monthly, with work occurring between calls. An initial deliverable is a prioritized communications and marketing plan with timeline.


Public relations and project management staff from the partner institutions.


Reports to the HathiTrust Executive Director, who in turn coordinates with the HathiTrust Executive Committee.


Chair selected by the HathiTrust Executive Committee.

Key Contacts

  • Operations staff responsible for the HathiTrust web site & services such as largescale search and the HathiTrust catalog (coordinated by Jeremy York, HathiTrust Project Librarian) 
  • Strategic Advisory Board
  • HathiTrust User Research Working Group (membership and charge to be determined)
  • Press/external contacts, particularly library and higher education publications


  • Heather Christenson, Mass Digitization Project Manager, California Digital Library (Chair)
  • Robin Bendenbaugh, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Marketing & Communication, Texas A&M University
  • Julie Bobay, Associate Dean for Collection Development and Scholarly Communications, Indiana University
  • Kristi Bontrager, Coordinator, Public Relations, University of Iowa Libraries
  • Jeff Carroll, Assistant Director of Collection Development, Columbia University
  • Lee Konrad, Technology Services, University of Wisconsin Libraries
  • Oya Rieger, Associate University Librarian for Digital Scholarhip, Cornell University
  • Sarah Pritchard, Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian, Northwestern University (Liaison to HathiTrust Strategic Advisory Board)
  • Jeremy York, Project Librarian, HathiTrust