Western Libraries Joins HathiTrust

Published on October 28, 2020

Western Libraries has become the newest member of HathiTrust, a global collaborative of more than two hundred research and academic libraries working towards its mission to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future.

Over the last twelve years, members have contributed more than 17.4 million volumes to the digital library, digitized from their library collections through a number of means including Google and Internet Archive digitization and in-house initiatives. More than 6.5 million of the contributed volumes are in the U.S. public domain and freely available online.

HathiTrust offers computational access to the entire corpus for scholarly research, reading access to the fullest extent allowable by U.S. copyright law, and other emerging services based on the combined collection.

HathiTrust members steward this collection under the aims of scholarly, not corporate, interests. HathiTrust holds the largest set of digitized books managed by the academic, research, and library community. This offers an unprecedented opportunity to steward the cultural record through increasingly interdependent work that develops capacity and sparks innovation.

HathiTrust serves a dual role. First, as a trusted repository it guarantees the long-term preservation of the materials it holds, providing the expert curation and consistent access long associated with research libraries. Second, as a service for members and the public good, HathiTrust offers persistent access to the digital collections. This includes viewing, downloading, and searching public domain volumes, and searching access to copyrighted works. Specialized features are also available which facilitate access by persons with print disabilities, and allow users to gather subsets of the digital library into “collections” that can be searched and browsed.

“Western Libraries looks forward to participating in this global collaborative dedicated to preserving the scholarly record for generations to come. We are also excited by HathiTrust’s capacity and vision to be a vital catalyst for emerging forms of research, teaching and learning that engage the scholarly record.”
— Catherine Steeves, Vice Provost and Chief Librarian, Western Libraries

HathiTrust was named for the Hindi word for elephant, hathi, symbolic of the qualities of memory, wisdom, and strength evoked by elephants, as well as the huge undertaking of congregating the digital collections of libraries in the United States and beyond. HathiTrust is funded by member libraries and governed by members of the libraries through its Board of Governors. More information on HathiTrust is available at: https://www.hathitrust.org/.