November 29, 2010

Johns Hopkins University Libraries to collaborate on digital initiative to expand access

The Johns Hopkins University Libraries have become the newest member of HathiTrust, a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in what is considered an “extraordinary” digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form.

Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership that currently comprises more than two dozen partners. Over the last two years, the partners have contributed more than 7 million volumes to the digital library, digitized from their library collections through various means, including Google and Internet Archive digitization and in-house initiatives. More than 1.6 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available on the Web.

Johns Hopkins’ initial role as part of HathiTrust will center on the development of infrastructure, such as storage systems, and services that will allow for seamless integration with the university’s library catalog.

“We are very pleased to be part of HathiTrust,” said Winston Tabb, the Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums. “This membership enhances our ability to deliver content to our users, who will now be able to access full-text PDFs of public domain materials via HathiTrust and through the university online catalog.”

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 in-copyright volumes. Also, specialized features are available to facilitate access by people with print disabilities and to allow users to gather subsets of the digital library into “collections” that can be searched and browsed.

“This announcement is great news for our users,” said Sayeed Choudhury, associate dean of university libraries and Hodson Director of the Digital Research and Curation Center at Johns Hopkins. “It also places us in a great position to further our research into digital preservation and to help inform policy on the national and international levels.”

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 the partner libraries and governed by members of the libraries through an executive committee and a strategic advisory board.

For more on HathiTrust, go to