The University of Alabama has become one of the newest partners of Hathitrust, a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in a digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form.
Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership currently composed of more than 60 partners. Over the last four years, the partners have contributed more than 10 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 3 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available on the Web. 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 volumes still in copyright. Specialized features are also available which facilitate access by persons with print disabilities, and they allow users to gather subsets of the digital library into collections that can be searched and browsed.
“The University of Alabama is the first institution in the state to become a partner of HathiTrust. Partnership in the HathiTrust will benefit faculty and staff in many ways,” said Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann, dean of libraries. “They will be able to access and download millions of texts which are public-domain and for which HathiTrust has received permissions.
“Users with disabilities are able to access materials in specialized ways. Virtual collections can be created for later use and for research purposes. The Libraries will be able to participate in the shared governance and partner initiatives which will shape future directions in libraries and shared collections.”