The MIT Libraries have recently joined HathiTrust, a partnership of over fifty academic libraries that share the ambitious goal of building a comprehensive digital library of their shared collections.
Started in 2008, the HathiTrust digital library currently contains over 8.5 million digitized volumes representing the collections of partner institutions. HathiTrust’s collections include both copyright and public domain materials digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft, as well as partner institutions. Founded by twelve universities from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system and the University of Virginia, the partnership has now grown to include fifty-five institutions. MIT and Harvard are two of the most recent universities to join.
Through the HathiTrust website, the public can search the full-text of 8.4 million digitized volumes, and get full online access to 2.2 million volumes that are in the public domain. With the MIT Libraries membership, the MIT community will have the added benefit of being able to download full volumes of public domain works in PDF format, and also build and share collections using the Collection Builder feature. Access will be provided to MIT users, with authentication through Touchstone, later this year.
Joining HathiTrust is one of several steps the MIT Libraries have recently taken to expand access for MIT faculty and students to print or digitized resources beyond the holdings of MIT. In January, the Libraries announced their membership in Borrow Direct, a partnership with Ivy Plus libraries that gives the MIT community access to nearly 50 million print items. In February, MIT and Harvard libraries jointly announced an expanded alliance to explore collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation collections practice, and developing future off-site storage facilities and services.
“In today’s interdisciplinary learning environment, it’s essential for our faculty, students and researchers to have access to an even wider array of information resources than ever before. By collaborating with other outstanding research libraries, we can offer the resources necessary to support the cutting edge research and education that is MIT’s hallmark,” said MIT Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert.
Wolpert added that it is important for universities to take a leading role in shaping digital libraries. “Libraries have been stewards of the scholarly record for centuries,” she said. “We’re committed to the long haul.”
The MIT Libraries are actively involved in open access initiatives that support MIT’s mission to make scholarly knowledge openly available to the world. Partnering with HathiTrust, an organization committed to collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge, is in line with the Libraries principles of supporting the long-term curation of the cultural record, and furthering global scholarship and research.