Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Millions of research records now available through online search

The HathiTrust Digital Library, a partnership of some of the nation's largest academic research libraries, has launched a new digital catalog search that delivers nearly three million records through an Internet browser.

"We are committed to providing solutions for archiving, and vital support for research," says John Wilkin, HathiTrust executive director and associate university librarian at U-M. "This new service provides access to the collections of the nation's premier research libraries. It's another step in building a worldwide, highly accessible, 21st-century digital library."

The unprecedented admission for the public to examine archives at the most prominent research libraries is an ongoing effort for HathiTrust to build a digital archive of library materials converted from print, co-owned and managed by participating academic institutions. Nearly half a million records in the repository link to works in the public domain, making online full-text records available to anyone with an Internet browser.

The HathiTrust Digital Library, launched in October 2008, includes the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the 11 university libraries of the University of California system, and the University of Virginia.

HathiTrust currently is finding ways to proficiently use large-scale full-text searching, which will provide researchers with a mechanism to search within the works and across the entire repository. Blending the latest technology with purpose of sharing knowledge, HathiTrust is building a community with the common goal of openly distributing information.

HathiTrust partners began including digital content from Indiana University and the University of California in late April. The addition of digital content from these institutions increases the number of books and journals in the repository by an estimated 500,000 volumes per month, Wilkin says. Before adding these materials, content was exclusively from collections at U-M and the University of Wisconsin.

Catalog records of the HathiTrust Digital Library also are available to local libraries, which can download and incorporate HathiTrust records into a local catalog. Many institutions, including the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado, already have successfully integrated the content.

Hathi (pronounced hah-TEE) is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal regarded for its memory, wisdom and strength. "The elephant is not only a symbol for our vision of the worldwide digital library," says Wilkin, referring to the repository's tagline, "it's marching through libraries across the country."

Any research library with digital content or an interest in curating digital content can become a partner, he says.

For more information and to test the catalog feature, go to The catalog is at