Since Oct. 13, the nation’s largest research libraries‘ digital collections have been available to students and faculty with just the click of a mouse.
The HathiTrust effort is a shared digital repository that includes the libraries of the 10 UC campuses, the University of Michigan, Indiana University and other major research libraries reaching a total of 23 university collections scanned by Google.
“What we are doing together is sharing our digital books and managing them collectively,“ said Laine Farley, interim executive director of the California Digital Library. “We are committed to preserving those digital copies. What if Google goes out of business, or say something happened to those physical copies? We will still have copies of those digital books.“
The California Digital Library, which provides UC libraries with digital services, will be working with the HathiTrust – a shared digital repository– in order to guarantee the preservation of materials.
“At CDL we have a lot of expertise in preservation,” said Patricia Cruse, director of the Digital Preservation program. “Our goal is to protect the improved access to intellectual capital of the university that we have collected through the years.“
In order to preserve intellectual property rights of the digital collections‘ authors, copyrighted books will not have full text versions available. Only books and materials part of the public domain are included in full.
Already 2.2 million volumes of books are available through the HathiTrust and 10 million volumes total will soon be coming from the UC storage facility.
The system will work like the current UC inter-library loan program that ships books between UC campuses upon request – only digitally. The repository under HathiTrust will also share other major research libraries across the nation in addition to the 10 UCs.
Gail Yokote, associate university librarian for Science and Technology at UCD, said this is a collaborative effort to make the research process easier.
“Ideally what this effort will do is coordinate our efforts, then faculty and students will be able to take advantage of what libraries are doing in their infrastructure so that the process will be seamless,” Yokote said.
Additional benefits of having research materials online is that one can search an entire book for keywords, making it easier to find specific research, Farley said.
UC books in the Hathitrust collection come from UC’s Northern Regional Library Facility, which stores various UC materials including UCD’s digital collections.
Yokote said that there are a number of lessons to be learned with the collective digitization process.
“Each effort will give us lessons on what works and what doesn’t,” she said. “It’s important to come up with strategies that will work for our faculty, staff and students through a number of projects and experiments.“
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.