Libraries Join HathiTrust, Opening Digital Access to 3.5 Million Books

The UMass Amherst Libraries has become one of the newest partners of HathiTrust, a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in a digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form.

As HathiTrust members, UMass Amherst students, faculty and staff will have access to more than 3.5 million public domain books. The campus community will be able to search HathiTrust’s catalog and download titles in the public domain. Users can then create their own private libraries of these electronic titles.

HathiTrust is an international community of research libraries committed to the long-term curation and availability of the cultural record. Through their common efforts and deep commitment to the public good, the libraries support the teaching and learning activities of the faculty, students or researchers at their home institutions, and the scholarly needs of the broader public. Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership currently comprising more than 80 partners.

Over the last four years, the partners have contributed more than 10 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 3 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available on the web. 

As a trusted repository HathiTrust guarantees the long-term preservation of the materials it holds, providing the expert curation and consistent access long associated with research libraries. As a service for partners and a public good, HathiTrust offers persistent access to the digital collections. This includes viewing, downloading and searching access to public domain volumes, and searching access to volumes still in copyright. 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.

“UMass Amherst looks forward to membership in the HathiTrust as a means of facilitating access to a diverse array of digitized materials that will benefit the faculty, students and staff,” said Jay Schafer, director of libraries. “The HathiTrust is an exceptional resource for all researchers at the UMass Amherst Libraries.”

HathiTrustwas 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 assembling the digital collections of libraries in the United States and beyond. HathiTrust is funded by the partner libraries and governed by members of the libraries through an executive committee and a strategic advisory board. The mission of the HathiTrust is to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating and sharing the record of human knowledge.