Last updated
HathiTrust logo.svg
Type of site
Digital library
OwnerUniversity consortium
Revenue US$3,777,445 (2019 projections for proposal) [1]
Website hathitrust.org
Alexa rankIncrease Negative.svg 26,827 (October 2018) [2]
CommercialPartially [3]
LaunchedOctober 2008
Current statusUpheld by courts [4]
Content license
Public domain (with restrictions on Google scans), various [5]
Written in Perl, Java [3]

HathiTrust Digital Library is a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries including content digitized via the Google Books project and Internet Archive digitization initiatives, as well as content digitized locally by libraries.



HathiTrust was founded in October 2008 by the twelve universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the eleven libraries of the University of California. [6] The partnership includes over 60 research libraries [7] across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and is based on a shared governance structure. Costs are shared by the participating libraries and library consortia. [8] The repository is administered by the University of Michigan. [9] The Executive Director of HathiTrust is Mike Furlough. [10] The HathiTrust Shared Print Program is a distributed collective collection whose participating libraries have committed to retaining almost 18 million monograph volumes for 25 years, representing three-quarters of HathiTrust digital book holdings. [11]

In September 2011, the Authors Guild sued HathiTrust ( Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust ), alleging massive copyright violation. [12] A federal court ruled against the Authors Guild in October 2012, finding that HathiTrust's use of books scanned by Google was fair use under US law. [13] The court's opinion relied on the transformativeness doctrine of federal copyright law, holding that the Trust had transformed the copyrighted works without infringing on the copyright holders' rights. That decision was largely affirmed by the Second Circuit on June 10, 2014, which found that providing search and accessibility for the visually impaired were grounds to consider the service transformative and fair use, and remanded to the lower court to reconsider whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue regarding HathiTrust's library preservation copies. [14]

In October 2015, HathiTrust comprised over 13.7 million volumes, including 5.3 million of which were in the public domain in the United States. HathiTrust provides a number of discovery and access services, notably, full-text search across the entire repository. In 2016 over 6.17 million users located in the United States and in 236 other nations used Hathitrust in 10.92 million sessions. [15]

As of 2019, the copyright policy states that "many works in our collection are protected by copyright law, so we cannot ordinarily publicly display large portions of those protected works unless we have permission from the copyright holder", and thus "if we cannot determine the copyright or permission status of a work, we restrict access to that work until we can establish its status. Because of differences in international copyright laws, access is also restricted for users outside the United States to works published outside the United States after and including 1879." [16]


PageTurner is the web application on the HathiTrust website for viewing publications. [17] From PageTurner readers can navigate through a publication, download a PDF version of it, and view pages in different ways, such as one page at a time, scrolling, flipping, or thumbnail views. [17] [18]


Hathi, pronounced "hah-tee", is the Hindi word for "elephant", an animal famed for its long-term memory. [19]

Related Research Articles

Internet Archive US non-profit organization founded in 1996 providing free public access to archives of digital and digitized media and advocating for a free and open Internet

The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge." It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and millions of public-domain books. In addition to its archiving function, the Archive is an activist organization, advocating for a free and open Internet.

Electronic publishing includes the digital publication of e-books, digital magazines, and the development of digital libraries and catalogues. It also includes an editorial aspect, that consists of editing books, journals or magazines that are mostly destined to be read on a screen.

Capel Lofft English lawyer, political figure and writer

Capel Lofft was a British lawyer, writer and amateur astronomer.

The University of Michigan Library is the university library system of the University of Michigan, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the United States.

Authors Guild professional organization for writers

The Authors Guild is America's oldest and largest professional organization for writers and provides advocacy on issues of free expression and copyright protection. Since its founding in 1912 as the Authors League of America, it has counted among its board members notable authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including numerous winners of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards. It has over 9,000 members, who receive free legal advice and guidance on contracts with publishers as well as insurance services and assistance with subsidiary licensing and royalties.

Open Library Online project for book data of the Internet Archive

Open Library is an online project intended to create "one web page for every book ever published". Created by Aaron Swartz, Brewster Kahle, Alexis Rossi, Anand Chitipothu, and Rebecca Malamud, Open Library is a project of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization. It has been funded in part by grants from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation. Open Library provides online access to many public domain and out-of-print books.

Google Books Service from Google

Google Books is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR), and stored in its digital database. Books are provided either by publishers and authors through the Google Books Partner Program, or by Google's library partners through the Library Project. Additionally, Google has partnered with a number of magazine publishers to digitize their archives.

The California Digital Library (CDL) was founded by the University of California in 1997. In collaboration with the ten University of California Libraries and other partners, CDL has assembled one of the world's largest digital research libraries. CDL facilitates the licensing of online materials and develops shared services used throughout the UC system. Building on the foundations of the Melvyl Catalog, CDL has developed one of the largest online library catalogs in the country and works in partnership with the UC campuses to bring the treasures of California's libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations to the world. CDL continues to explore how services such as digital curation, scholarly publishing, archiving and preservation support research throughout the information lifecycle.

The Michigan Digitization Project is a project in partnership with Google Books to digitize the entire print collection of the University of Michigan Library. The digitized collection is available through the University of Michigan Library catalog, Mirlyn, the HathiTrust Digital Library, and Google Book Search. Full-text of works that are out of copyright or in the public domain are available.

A digital library, digital repository, or digital collection, is an online database of digital objects that can include text, still images, audio, video, or other digital media formats. Objects can consist of digitized content like print or photographs, as well as originally produced digital content like word processor files or social media posts. In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching, and retrieving the content contained in the collection.

<i>Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google, Inc.</i>

Authors Guild v. Google is a copyright case litigated in the United States. It centers on the allegations by the Authors Guild, and previously by the Association of American Publishers, that Google infringed their copyrights in developing its Google Book Search database.

The Google Book Search Settlement Agreement was a proposal between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google in the settlement of Authors Guild et al. v. Google, a class action lawsuit alleging copyright infringement on the part of Google. The settlement was initially proposed in 2008, but ultimately rejected by the court in 2011. In November 2013, the presiding U.S. Circuit Judge dismissed Authors Guild et al. v. Google. On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal.

Orphan works in the United States

An orphan work is a copyrighted work whose owner is impossible to identify or contact. This inability to request permission from the copyright owner often means orphan works cannot be used in new works nor digitized, except when fair use exceptions apply. Until recently, public libraries could not distribute orphaned books without risking being fined up to $150,000 if the owner of the copyright were to come forward. This problem was addressed in the 2011 case Authors Guild et al. v. Google.

Digital Public Library of America US American digital public library

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a US project aimed at providing public access to digital holdings in order to create a large-scale public digital library. It officially launched on April 18, 2013, after 2.5 years of development.

A memory institution is an organization maintaining a repository of public knowledge, a generic term used about institutions such as libraries, archives, heritage institutions, aquaria and arboreta, and zoological and botanical gardens, as well as providers of digital libraries and data aggregation services which serve as memories for given societies or mankind. Memory institutions serve the purpose of documenting, contextualizing, preserving and indexing elements of human culture and collective memory. These institutions allow and enable society to better understand themselves, their past, and how the past impacts their future. These repositories are ultimately preservers of communities, languages, cultures, customs, tribes, and individuality. Memory institutions are repositories of knowledge, while also being actors of the transitions of knowledge and memory to the community. These institutions ultimately remain some form of collective memory. Increasingly such institutions are considered as a part of a unified documentation and information science perspective.

The Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland is a history of Scotland from the beginning of the world until the accession of King James I. Attributed to Andrew of Wyntoun, a learned scholar of the time, it is one of the only manuscripts composed in Scots verse before the seventeenth century, though it is also said to be written in northern English. Wyntoun himself calls his language "Ynglys".

<i>Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust</i> US Court Decision

Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, 755 F.3d 87, is a United States copyright decision finding search and accessibility uses of digitized books to be fair use.

James Henry Nixon British illustrator and painter

James Henry Nixon (1802-1857) was an illustrator and painter during the Victorian period, who worked in the firm Ward and Nixon painting stain glass windows. James Henry Nixon was a protege of Charles Winston, who praised Nixon's work at Westminster Abbey and Church of Christ the King, Bloomsbury. The company Ward and Nixon was followed by Ward and Hughes.

Controlled digital lending a digital library lending model

Controlled digital lending (CDL) is a model by which libraries digitize materials in their collection and make them available for lending. It is based on interpretations of the United States copyright principles of fair use and copyright exhaustion. Proponents argue that CDL is legal under those principles because it relies on digital rights management (DRM) to ensure that any library-owned digitized work that is in copyright is loaned for a limited period of time, and that a one-to-one ratio of owned copies to borrowers is maintained. However, opponents have criticized this interpretation, arguing that a library's purchase of a physical book does not entitle it to produce and lend an e-book.

A collective collection, also known as a shared printprogram, involves mostly academic or research libraries collaborating to retain, develop, and provide access to their physical collections. Most collective collections comprise monographs and/or serials. Other efforts have addressed acquisition and/or retention of microform, federal government documents, and digital collections.


  1. "2018 Member Meeting" (PDF). hathitrust.org. October 2018. p. 56. Slides in PDF.
  2. "Hathitrust.org Traffic, Demographics and Competitors". Alexa . Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  3. 1 2 "Technological Profile". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. "HathiTrust Statement on Authors Guild v. Google" (Press release). HathiTrust. October 16, 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  5. "Access and Use Policies". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  6. Karels, Liene (November 2010). "HathiTrust adds new members, goes global". umich.edu. Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  7. "HathiTrust Partnership Community". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  8. "Cost". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  9. "Governance". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  10. "HathiTrust Staff". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  11. "Shared Print Program | www.hathitrust.org | HathiTrust Digital Library". www.hathitrust.org. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  12. Bosman (September 12, 2011). "Lawsuit Seeks the Removal of a Digital Book Collection". New York Times. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  13. Albanese, Andrew (11 October 2012). "Google Scanning Is Fair Use Says Judge". Publishers Weekly . Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  14. Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, (2d Cir. June 10, 2014).
  15. Zaytsev, Angelina (February 2017). "14 Million Books & 6 Million Visitors: HathiTrust Growth and Usage in 2016" (PDF). hathitrust.org. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  16. "Trust copyright policy - restrictions on access". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.
  17. 1 2 Meltzer, Ellen (May 9, 2011). "Viewing HathiTrust books just got better". cdlib.org. California Digital Library . Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  18. "HathiTrust User's Guide" (PDF). hathitrust.org. May 2012. p. 8. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  19. "Launch of HathiTrust: Major Library Partners Launch HathiTrust Shared Digital Repository" (Press release). HathiTrust. October 13, 2008. Retrieved 2019-06-21.

Further reading