The University of Richmond Libraries has become the newest member of HathiTrust (www.hathitrust.org), a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in an extraordinary digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form.

Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership currently comprising more than one hundred thirty partners.

Over the last ten years, members have contributed more than 16 million volumes to the digital library, digitized from their library collections through a number of means including Google and Internet Archive digitization and in-house initiatives. More than 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 members and the 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 copyrighted works. 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. Hathi Analytics provides support for large-scale computational text analysis of the works in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Kevin Butterfield, University Librarian, states that “the University looks forward to membership in HathiTrust as a means to assure preservation of its own digital copies and contribute or sustain those volumes to an increasingly comprehensive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by academic institutions.”

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 member libraries and governed by members of the libraries through its Board of Governors. More information on HathiTrust is available at: https://www.hathitrust.org/.