UW Libraries Blog

April 6, 2020

HathiTrust Expands Access to Materials for UW Libraries

UW Libraries

Updated 7.20.2020

On March 31st,  HathiTrust  announced that it is offering an Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) which will allow students, faculty, and staff from eligible member libraries to access a significant amount of online materials that are currently unavailable to them in library collections. 

The importance of HathiTrust to Libraries re-opening strategy: As we consider multiple options for re-opening, any approach for a gradual re-opening will be balanced with the importance of the Universities’ HathiTrust partnership that currently provides electronic access to more than 1.7 million books in our print collection that are not physically accessible while the Libraries’ buildings are closed. Please note that this access is a temporary benefit for UW members during this emergency situation. Once the UW Libraries restores access to our physical collections, this temporary online access will be shut off and will not be available to students who continue learning remotely (out-of-state, or internationally). For this reason, we advise faculty to work with subject Librarians to identify course materials that will be consistently available regardless of Libraries’ operations and access to physical materials

ht logoWhat is HathiTrust?

HathiTrust is a membership-based partnership of academic and research institutions offering a collection of over 17 million titles digitized from libraries around the world. It is the largest set of digitized books managed by academic and research libraries — under the aims of scholarly, not corporate, interests.

Why does the ETAS  matter for Huskies?

With UW Libraries buildings closed, there is no access to physical materials at this time, which has been a challenge for students, faculty and staff, including Librarians.

With this additional access to HathiTrust, users can now access 5.4 million of the UW Libraries print materials and items in the public domain (out of copyright) through the digital collections in HathiTrust.

How does it work? 

To access, go to hathitrust.org, click the yellow LOG IN button, select “University of Washington” as the partner institution, and sign in with your UW NetID. For more instructions, see our UW Libraries HathiTrust Research Guide and also HathiTrust User Information. Books currently available to you through ETAS have the label “Temporary Access.” You will be able to read the book online, within a web browser. There is no option to download the work in full. You can also “check out” a copy for an hour at a time. Your access will renew automatically at the end of that hour, unless another user requests the book after that hour is over. 

Please note–this access is temporary. The members of the UW community only have this online access for as long as the current emergency situation persists. Once the UW Libraries reopens and access to our physical collections is restored, this temporary online access will be shut off.  For this reason, we still advise faculty with our motto “first alternatives, then equivalents” to ensure consistent access to course selects and other materials. 

Why aren’t these materials already accessible to HathiTrust members like UW?

These items are in-copyright and the UW Libraries owns a print copy (not an online copy) that may be available on a bookshelf in a UW library building. 

What is available to UW via HathiTrust during normal operations? 

From HathiTrust Digital Library you can also read full-text digitized versions of books that are freely available in the public domain (not in copyright). On January 1, 2020, the copyright expired on nearly 50,000 books with a publication date of 1924. Browse the HathiTrust 1924 Publication Collection. These books are marked “Full View.” You will be available to view, download, search, and add to a collection. Most items will have images of scanned pages and a plain text version. If the item is still in copyright (not in public domain), you have the “Limited (search-only)” option to view. These items have a “Search inside the text” option that will find the frequency and page number of specific words and phrases, which may help you determine if the work is worth finding elsewhere. For more information, see UW Libraries HathiTrust Research Guide

How does HathiTrust and UW Libraries work together during routine operations? 

UW Libraries partnership with HathiTrust is critical to our every day work at the Libraries. It is a reciprocal relationship — our users have access to millions of titles through HathiTrust digital collections, and we contribute back to it. This work is ongoing–to preserve and digitize UW Libraries collections through digitization and preservation replacement (creating digital surrogates, and creating physical facsimiles). When a book is no longer able to be shelved safely due to age and deterioration (what we sometimes refer to as a “brittle” book), we confirm if the book is available digitally via the HathiTrust. If it is, often the book will be boxed by Conservation staff, and a link provided to the digital copy through the Libraries’ catalog. The HathiTrust provides full-text, searchable access to out-of-copyright books. If the subject librarian decides to retain a brittle book in the collection and the book is determined to have enough potential use or research utility and is not replaceable by other means, a preservation facsimile (or occasionally preservation microfilm) is made, along with a high-quality digitization of the book that is deposited in the HathiTrust for both access (if out-of-copyright) and digital preservation.

For more information, please read HathiTrust FAQs for Member Libraries and for Users