On an ordinary day, HathiTrust is one of a number of trusted archives that front-line library staff use as a part of their secret arsenal when finding obscure sources for our users. I myself have used it numerous times, for example when trying to locate a digitized version of an older publication, or when trying to find the source of a quote that needs to be cited directly rather than second hand. HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items contributed by the libraries, and it is an amazing collection worth exploring, even under normal circumstances. Since the COVID-19 disruption it has become even more significant, as it is now offering access to digital versions of a great many of our books made inaccessible due to library closures.
The closure of the University of Alberta Library’s physical collections has, unfortunately, been a necessary response to the pandemic for the safety of our users and staff. We are excited to announce a partnership with HathiTrust that provides digital access to books in our print collection while we navigate access to our physical collection. Our partners at HathiTrust have created the Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS), which provides temporary access to 1.8 million in-copyright titles that match the University of Alberta’s print holdings. This means approximately 30% of our print holdings are accessible through this service until we are able to circulate the physical versions again.
The library catalogue now includes links to 1.8 million titles from the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS). Digital access to these books will be available as long as the physical copies are inaccessible. Visit our HathiTrust webpage for more instructions and details. This is in addition to the 4.4 million public domain works that are continually accessible through the University of Alberta Library’s membership with HathiTrust.
So, how does it work? There are two ways that you can search: in the library catalogue or in the HathiTrust database itself. Within the library search, if full text is available via HathiTrust, a dark blue link appears above the normal print holdings of the title. Simply follow the links and check out the book.
To search directly within HathiTrust, go to the library website, click on ‘Search for Databases’ and search for “HathiTrust” – it should appear at the top of your results. Then click through to get into the database. When searching in HathiTrust, I recommend choosing the “catalog search” option (not ‘full text’) to make it easier to see if they have a book you are looking for. You can access the book via the “Temporary Access” link within the book record.
Whichever way you access a book, you will be able to check it out for 1 hour. Your access will renew automatically at the end of that hour unless another user requests to view the book.
Finally, when you are searching and using online materials, please feel free to Ask Us, as we have REAL PEOPLE on our chat eager to help you. We thank you for your continued patience as we figure out safe ways to share library collections with the University of Alberta’s community of researchers.
Many thanks to Angie Mandeville, Lindsay Johnston & Wei Wei Shi for input into this post.