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HathiTrust Digital Library

This database is freely available to the general public via the Internet.


Over 8.7 million scanned items, all described by precise metadata, are currently in the HathiTrust (one word) database. About 73% of the items in the HathiTrust catalog are copyrighted; 27% are in the public domain. The copyrighted items are generally inaccessible, even to institutions associated with the project. 48% of the catalog's items are in English, although 400 languages are represented. As explained on its Web site: the Trust is "a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future" (Hathi is the Hindi word for elephant - and an elephant NEVER forgets!) and their mission is "to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge." Sixty research institutions and libraries are partners (as of 3/5/2012).  While Google scans are a critical component of the corpus, it is much more. Unique material is in both Google and HathiTrust and there are topical collections reflecting recent and focused institutional scanning efforts. Google scans that are included have been reviewed for quality of scan and have been assigned full and accurate metadata. In fact, HathiTrust bibliographic records are freely available to institutions for loading in their catalogs. Do a keyword search for "hathitrust" (one word) in WorldCat to retrieve HathiTrust records.

Works in the public domain (generally pre-1923) in HathiTrust are freely available to all researchers and may be read and searched in their entirety. Works in copyright may be searched in "limited" mode, with only the page number and number of hits given. In the future, in partnership with Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, text-mining projects similar to Google's Ngram Viewer will be supported. Use HathiTrust and Google Books in combination. The "readers" and "search engines" of course, are different.

Like Google Books, more than books are in the database. The HathiTrust Digital Library contained, as of 16 May 2011, 8,724,587 volumes or 4,774,586 book titles and 211,665 serial titles.

All public domain titles not digitzed by Google and in the HathiTrust Digital Library are available for full PDF download. Texts scanned by Google are only available for full PDF download  from within the HathiTrust Digital Library to partners within the United States.  Therefore, there are two categories of Google scans; although both categories are viewable.  Over 100,000 Internet Archive digitzed volumes are available.  In addition, there are works that rights holders have opened access to in HathiTrust.  These are viewable and searchable to all; but if digitzed by Google, full download in only available with a Creative Commons license.  Print on demand is available worldwide with permission. When you attempt to download from HathiTrust you'll be invited to open a Friends account -- this is the only option available to you because UB is not a partner institution.

Hathitrust Mobile: "The interface offers mobile-friendly access to key functionality including searching the HathiTrust catalog and reading HathiTrust "Full View" texts.  Users from HathiTrust partner institutions can download texts in ePub and PDF format."  These texts can be viewed from mobile devices and there is special functionality for tablets, using vertical or horizontal format.  See

Collection BuilderA collection builder tool is available to facilitate the use and discovery of HathiTrust Digital Library materials.  "Items can be added to permanent or private collections from the Page Turner application or from full-text search results."  UB people may login after creating a University of Michigan Friends Account. 


Dates Covered

Full-text for pre-1923 books and other public domain titles. No restrictions; but only public domain works (mostly pre-1923) may be read.

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Charles D'Aniello

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