In October 2008, HathiTrust was launched jointly by the University of Michigan and other members of the consortium then known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC, now the Big Ten Academic Alliance, or BTAA), and the University of California, including all 10 campus libraries and the California Digital Library. The founding members had already begun mass digitizing their print library collections through large-scale partnerships with the Google Library Project, and Open Content Alliance. The goal of the original members was to create a secure and enduring repository where volumes digitized from research library collections could be preserved, managed, and shared, “under the aims of scholarly, not corporate, interests” according to library standards and specifications.

From its beginning, UC libraries have made vital contributions to HathiTrust, including to: 

  • its aggregate collection of now more than 17.5M digital volumes: roughly 26% of which were digitized from UC library collections;
  • HathiTrust services: CDL developed and manages Zephir, the HathiTrust Metadata Management System; and 
  • HathiTrust leadership : UC library leaders sit on the HathiTrust Board of Governors and the Program Steering Committee.

Additionally, UC librarians and library staff consistently participate in HathiTrust working groups, committees, and task forces.

UC librarians and library staff engage with HathiTrust programs and services in numerous ways, by regularly referring patrons to the HathiTrust Digital Library and HathiTrust Research Center as appropriate for their academic pursuits. UC library staff also: 

  • process books to be sent to the Google Books Library Project to be scanned and contributed to both Google Books and HathiTrust;
  • upload their locally digitized volumes to HathiTrust;
  • open UC copyright-owned works in HathiTrust for public access;
  • create HathiTrust collections to highlight specialized content
  • host workshops on using the HathiTrust Research Center for computational research; and
  • provide special access to patrons with print disabilities through the Accessible Text Request Service.

The HathiTrust Digital Library allows users to discover millions of volumes through metadata or full-text search, and to search inside the book. Roughly 39% of the HathiTrust corpus is available in full view and is open for reading access because the volumes are in the public domain or have Creative Commons licenses. While reading access of the full view content in HathiTrust is widely available, UC students, faculty, and staff may also log in to HathiTrust using their UC credentials to download the full view volumes and save collections of titles that they curate in the Collection Builder. 

When UC libraries physically closed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic and access to physical library volumes became impossible, UC patrons were allowed limited access to the digital copies of in-copyright HathiTrust volumes that UC libraries held on their physical shelves via the Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS). HathiTrust’s ETAS helped library services continue during the closures because they ensured continuity of access. This moment has demonstrated the value and potential for HathiTrust to grow and adapt in an ever changing environment.

If you have questions about UC’s engagement with HathiTrust, please submit a ticket or email the Digitization team at CDL at