HathiTrust: A Digital Library Revolution Takes Flight

“The phrase “closed until further notice due to COVID-19” has become all too familiar. And, while we have started to grow accustomed to losing access to many resources that typically define our community existence, there’s one that’s particularly crucial to student and faculty researchers: libraries. For some, it may be easy to write off libraries as “nice-to-have.” But for scholars, they are essential. And as library doors began to shutter throughout California and much of the world, the potential impact on the academic community was profound.

Thankfully, the University of California has been preparing for this moment for decades. In 2008, the UC Libraries co-founded HathiTrust, and started contributing scanned copies of books and journals to the new organization. Based at the University of Michigan (U-M), HathiTrust is a large-scale repository of digital content collaboratively created by academic and research institutions. As researchers lost access to vital hard-copy materials, it initiated an Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) to give UC researchers critical access to more than 13 million digital volumes. This revolution has been immediately impactful — and a profound advancement in sharing digital content….”