Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

List of orphan works candidates goes live on HathiTrust

The U-M Library has announced that the list of identified orphan works candidates now is live on the HathiTrust Digital Library website.


More information

• Background on the Orphan Works Project, including a description of the identification and confirmation process.

• The list of orphan works in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

This follows the library's June announcement that it will allow U-M affiliated users to access digital versions of confirmed orphan works —works for which the copyright holders cannot be identified or contacted — when those works also reside in its print collection.

Each orphan work candidate will remain on the list for 90 days. If no valid copyright claimant comes forward, U-M users logged in to the HathiTrust Digital Library will be able to view, download, and print the work.

The Copyright Office of the U-M Library is leading the Orphan Works Project, which is funded by HathiTrust, a digital library with more than 50 university and research library partners.

Melissa Levine, the library's lead copyright officer, emphasizes that the primary goal of the project is to locate copyright holders wherever they exist, and enable them to make their own decisions about access to their work in HathiTrust.

But Levine has no doubt there are many orphan works among HathiTrust's 9 million volumes, approximately 73 percent of which are in copyright.

"Sharing these orphan works, once we've diligently searched for copyright holders, is integral to the mission of the library," she says.

Other HathiTrust partners are moving forward with plans to share digitized orphan works from their own collections, including the University of Wisconsin and HathiTrust's newest partner, the University of Florida Libraries.