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HathiTrust logo.svg
Type of site
Digital library
Owner University consortium
Website www.hathitrust.org
Alexa rank Negative increase 26,827 (October 2018)[1]
Commercial Proprietary[2]
Launched October 2008
Current status Upheld by courts[3]
Content license
Public domain (with restrictions on Google scans), various[4]
Written in Perl, Java[2]

HathiTrust is a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries including content digitized via the Google Books project and Internet Archive digitization initiatives, as well as content digitized locally by libraries.


HathiTrust was founded in October 2008 by the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California. The partnership includes over 60 research libraries[5] across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and is based on a shared governance structure. Costs are shared by the participating libraries and library consortia. The repository is administered by Indiana University and the University of Michigan. The Executive Director of HathiTrust is Mike Furlough.

In September 2011, the Authors Guild sued HathiTrust (Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust), alleging massive copyright violation.[6] A federal court ruled against the Authors Guild in October 2012, finding that HathiTrust's use of books scanned by Google was fair use under US law.[7] The court's opinion relied on the transformative doctrine of federal copyright law, holding that what the Trust had done to give access transformed the copyrighted works without infringing on the copyright holders' rights. That decision was largely affirmed by the Second Circuit on June 10, 2014, which found that both search and accessibility were fair use, and remanded to the lower court to reconsider whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue regarding HathiTrust's library preservation copies.[8]

In October 2015, HathiTrust comprised over 13.7 million volumes, including 5.3 million of which were in the public domain in the United States. HathiTrust provides a number of discovery and access services, notably, full-text search across the entire repository. In 2016 over 6.17 million users located in the United States and in 236 other nations used Hathitrust in 10.92 million sessions.[9]


Hathi, pronounced "hah-tee", is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal famed for its long-term memory.[10]


  1. ^ "Hathitrust.org Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". www.alexa.com. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Technological Profile". Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  3. ^ "HathiTrust Statement on Authors Guild v. Google". Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Access and Use Policies". Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  5. ^ "HathiTrust Partnership Community". hathitrust.org. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  6. ^ Bosman (September 12, 2011). "Lawsuit Seeks the Removal of a Digital Book Collection". New York Times. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  7. ^ Albanese, Andrew (11 October 2012). "Google Scanning is Fair Use Says Judge". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  8. ^ Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, (2d Cir. June 10, 2014).
  9. ^ "14 Million Books & 6 Million Visitors: HathiTrust Growth and Usage in 2016 (pdf)
  10. ^ "Launch of HathiTrust: Major Library Partners Launch HathiTrust Shared Digital Repository, HathiTrust Press Release, Oct. 13, 2008.

Further reading

External links

  • Official website
  • HathiTrust adds new members, goes global (official press release from 13 November 2010)
  • Major Library Partners Launch HathiTrust Shared Digital Repository (official press release from 13 October 2008)
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