Columbia University Libraries Joins HathiTrust


NEW YORK, December 16, 2009 – The Columbia University Libraries has become the newest member of HathiTrust (www.hathitrust.org), a shared repository for the digitized content from academic and research libraries. The Libraries plans to contribute public domain volumes digitized through its partnerships with Google, Microsoft and the Internet Archive.

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Launched in 2008 and housed at the University of Michigan, the HathiTrust currently includes the member libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation(CIC) the University of California system, and the University of Virginia.

Hathi serves a dual role. First, as a trusted repository it guarantees the long-term preservation of digital books created through mass digitization projects, providing the expert curation and consistent access long associated with research libraries. Second, Hathi offers public access to the public domain materials it holds.

“Columbia looks forward to membership in Hathi as a means not only to assure preservation of its own digital copies, but a way to contribute those volumes to an increasingly comprehensive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by academic institutions,” said James G. Neal, Columbia’s Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian. “Columbia’s students, faculty, and staff will benefit from the ability to search across the entire archive, with the assurance that all the books will continue to be available long into the future.”

“HathiTrust is pleased to have Columbia join us in this important enterprise,” said John Wilkin, Executive Director of HathiTrust and Associate University Librarian, Library Information Technology, University of Michigan. “The HathiTrust partners are eager to expand membership to a broad base of research libraries, and integrate HathiTrust more fully into the decisions libraries make surrounding the curation and management of the cultural record. As one of the most important North American research libraries, Columbia strengthens HathiTrust both in terms of vision and in terms of collections.”

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 collections of the nation’s top research libraries. In the past 12 months, HathiTrust has more than doubled the number of volumes in its repository from 2 million to nearly 4 ½ million. 16 percent of the library’s digital holdings are in the public domain.

Hathi is committed to preserving the intellectual content and in many cases the exact appearance and layout of the digitized materials, and will undertake bit-level preservation and format migration of the digital versions as technology, standards, and best practices change. Bibliographic searching by title, author, subject, ISBN, publisher, and year of publication, as well as faceted browsing are already available. Full text searching is a near-term objective, along with access mechanisms for persons with disabilities, and the ability for individuals to gather together subsets of its massive database into “collections” that can be searched and browsed.

HathiTrust was founded by the 11 University of California libraries and the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), and is funded and managed by its partners via an Executive Committee and a Strategic Advisory Board that works on a variety of issues ranging from finances to development priorities. Current partners include the member libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the University of California system, and the University of Virginia. Columbia is one of the first new institutions to join since membership was opened to other research libraries in 2009.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb is the gateway to its services and resources.

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12/16/09 LMK