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HathiTrust: What is the HathiTrust

What is HathiTrust?

The HathiTrust, founded in 2008 , is made up of research libraries committed to the long term preservation of books and other text materials. Hathi is an offshoot of the Google Books project and most of the digitization of works in Hathi has been performed by academic research libraries.

HathiTrust Digital Library

Over 16 million volumes are included in the HathiTrust.  Over 5 million of these volumes are in the public domain and available for download by persons affiliated with HathiTrust member libraries.. Volumes not available for download are still searchable.  

To get started searching the HathiTrust go to https://www.hathitrust.org/. It is best practice to log in to Hathi with your netID and password before you get started. 

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Are Hathi materials in multiple languages?   Yes.  HathiTrust houses materials in 460 languages, about 50% of which are in English. A table details the number of materials in a given language.
  • Are all Hathi materials available to be viewed in full text?  No.  With exceptions, full text materials are limited to those published before 1925 (published 1924 and prior), due to copyright restrictions.  *Also see the TEMPORARY ACCESS tab on this guide, for information on access to full text materials during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Can entire books be downloaded?  Can portions of books be downloaded?  Yes, if the book is available in full text and is in the public domain.  Information is available for affiliates of member institutions who wish to download entire books and/or portions of books.  The Hathi website has more information on this topic as well as a list of Hathi member institutions.  *During the TEMPORARY ACCESS period, some books that are normally not in the public domain may be available for download.  Refer to the TEMPORARY ACCESS tab on this guide.
  • How many institutions are members of HathiTrust?  Is Northwestern a member?  Hathi has approximately 140 members.  Northwestern is a member.
  • Are U.S. government documents available in HathiTrust?  Are state and local documents in HathiTrust? Many print materials published by the U.S. government are available in digital form in Hathi, and many of these are available in full text regardless of copyright date.  The Hathi website has a section which discusses in detail government materials.  Some state and local materials are also available; this varies by state and locale as does the availability of full text.
  • Are manuscript materials in the HathiTrust? No.  
  • Are periodicals in HathiTrust?  Some older periodicals are available.  Check by title.
  • Are films, videos, and audio recordings in HathiTrust?  No.
  • Is every book/periodical in every member library available in Hathi?  No.
  • How do I know what is in Hathi?  You can search Hathi directly.  Many Hathi materials are also cross-listed in NUsearch.
  • Can I get a physical copy of a book or periodical in Hathi?  Yes, under normal circumstances print materials not available locally can be borrowed via Interlibrary Loan.  Use the "Find It In a Library" link in the Hathi catalog or when viewing a Hathi record.  *PLEASE NOTE that during the Covid-19 pandemic, physical materials are not available.
  • During the Covid pandemic, can digital materials in Hathi be made available to NU students, faculty, and staff via Interlibrary Loan?  No.  Hathi cannot loan materials.