PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania Libraries have become the newest member of HathiTrust (www.hathitrust.org), an extraordinary partnership of more than two dozen major academic and research libraries. Launched in 2008, the HathiTrust is a collaborative digital library initiative that seeks to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form. As a sustaining partner, Penn will be contributing to enhanced access, discovery and preservation of digital content for use by its scholars and the research community worldwide.
Over the last two years, the partners have contributed more than 7 million volumes to HathiTrust, digitized from their collections through a number of means including Google and Internet Archive digitization and in-house initiatives. More than 1.6 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available on the Web.
HathiTrust serves a dual role. First, as a trusted repository it guarantees the long-term preservation of the materials it holds, providing the expert curation and consistent access long associated with research libraries. Second, as a service for partners and a public good, HathiTrust offers persistent access to the digital collections. This includes viewing, downloading, and searching access to public domain volumes, and searching access to in copyright volumes.
Specialized features are also available which facilitate access by persons with print disabilities, and allow users to gather subsets of the digital library into “collections” that can be searched and browsed.
The Penn Libraries envision HathiTrust as a growing community of peer research institutions which seeks to ensure the discovery, use and longevity of digital content. Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, H. Carton Rogers said: “Our alliance with HathiTrust affirms Penn’s commitment to building and preserving a deep collection of digital materials that is co-owned and managed by academic institutions. In the future, the Penn Libraries look forward to contributing our unique digital output to HathiTrust for the benefit of scholarly use.”
“HathiTrust is pleased to welcome the University of Pennsylvania Libraries,” said John Wilkin, HathiTrust Executive Director. “Penn’s participation highlights the growth of our collaborative enterprise, and will help us sustain the value of HathiTrust services to research and learning.”
HathiTrust was named for the Hindi word for elephant, hathi, symbolic of the qualities of memory, wisdom, and strength evoked by elephants, as well as the huge undertaking of congregating the digital collections of libraries in the United States and beyond. HathiTrust is funded by the partner libraries and governed by members of the libraries through an Executive Committee and a Strategic Advisory Board. More information on HathiTrust is available at: http://www.hathitrust.org/.
A leader in the development of digital library services and collections, the Penn Libraries are aggressively experimenting with and adopting new technology in research and teaching, including courseware. As a founding partner of the Kuali OLE Project, Penn is at the forefront of developing a next-generation community source technology environment to support academic library operations. Membership in HathiTrust complements the Penn Libraries’ active support of national cooperative efforts for shared collection building, access and preservation.