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April 2011 |  Return to issue home

Libraries Joins HathiTrust Partnership


University of Washington Libraries has become a sustaining member of HathiTrust, a partnership that is jointly owned and operated by major research institutions and libraries from the United States and Europe, all focused on a common goal: to build an extraordinary digital library that preserves and provides access to the cultural record. 

Founded in 2008, HathiTrust (pronounced "HAH-tee") 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 the nation's top research libraries.

HathiTrust serves a dual role:

  • 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.
  • 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 copyright volumes.

"Academic and research libraries are recognizing the importance of collaboration and sharing resources as a way to support faculty research, teaching and scholarship at the UW. Not only is it cost-effective, it fulfills a special need and falls squarely within the Libraries’ mission of connecting people with knowledge," said Betsy Wilson, dean of libraries.

Over the last two years, the partners have contributed more than 8 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 2.1 million of HathiTrust's volumes are in the public domain and are freely available on the web. 

Benefits to users include full-text and bibliographic search capabilities, full PDF downloading of all public domain books, and full-text access for visually impaired users.

More than 55 institutions are now members, including the university libraries at Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Stanford and the University of California.

HathiTrust current statistics*

  • 8,240,228 total volumes
  • 4,536,206 book titles
  • 203,291 serial titles
  • 2,884,079,800 pages
  • 369 terabytes
  • 98 miles
  • 6,695 tons
  • 2,103,770 volumes (~26% of total) in the public domain

* Statistics are updated daily, find today's statistics, as well as colorful visualizations of call number and languages represented in unfolding pie charts.

April 2011  |  Return to issue home

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