BU Libraries Join HathiTrust

in news
June 2nd, 2011

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Office of Digital Initiatives & Open Access

771 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
T 617-353-3710   F 617-353-2084

Boston, Massachusetts, June 1, 2011 – Boston University Libraries has become the newest member of HathiTrust (www.hathitrust.org), a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in an extraordinary digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form. The Libraries plan to contribute public domain volumes digitized through in-house projects and partnerships with the Internet Archive through the Boston Library Consortium.

“Joining Hathi Trust furthers a key strategic goal of the library by making wider access to research material available to the University community.   This collaboration with other research universities will build a comprehensive digital library of our shared collections.  With more than 2.2 million public domain volumes already online, it nearly doubles the volumes available to the campus.  This membership also adds full text searching to a repository of more than 8 million “in copyright” items.  In addition, Hathi Trust will also act as our primary agency for researching and licensing copyrighted materials that are contributed by our research library partners,” said University Librarian Bob Hudson.

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HathiTrust serves a dual role. First, 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. Second, 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. 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.

Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership currently comprising more than fifty partners. In addition to providing access and preservation to a rapidly growing digital corpus, member libraries are engaged in projects to enhance access and usability. The University of Michigan has launched a project to identify “orphan works” among the millions of volumes in the HathiTrust Digital Library. This is a step toward developing broader access to these copyrighted volumes whose copyright owners can’t be identified or found. Other projects include text-mining and enhanced metadata management.

“Boston University Libraries will rely on HathiTrust as a key component of the Libraries’ digital preservation efforts. This collaboration enables the Libraries to both expand its digital collections and to assure durable access to its own digital assets,” said Jack Ammerman, Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Open Access. “Unlike commercial initiatives, this is an increasingly comprehensive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by academic institutions.

John Wilkin, Executive Director of HathiTrust said, “HathiTrust is pleased to have Boston University Libraries join us in this important enterprise.”

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. More information on HathiTrust is available at: http://www.hathitrust.org/.

The Boston University Libraries provide service and resources to support the research, teaching and learning needs of the BU community. The Libraries participate in consortia and partnerships that enhance their ability to extend the Libraries’ resources and services to the BU community.

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