HathiTrust Special Book Access

HathiTrust Special Book Access

IU East credentials (user name and password log-in) provide students, faculty and staff with access to many types of scholarly resources, even during the coronavirus pandemic. However, physical books are not currently accessible. IU East owns close to 20,000 print volumes, and millions of books from other IU libraries were also readily available at the click of a button in the library catalog, IUCAT.  Since book stacks are closed, e-books have been valuable; but not all books (particularly older books) are available as e-texts, nor do all publishers license their output for electronic access.

There are available digitized copies of print books. Thanks to efforts like Project Gutenberg, we can freely access public-domain books. But some initiatives, such as the HathiTrust, included copyrighted works, archiving them for preservation rather than public access. More than 60 research libraries have contributed material to the repository.  Indiana University is one of these libraries, and has digitized almost 48% of its holdings.  Copyrighted books are held in ‘trust’ until they come into the public domain, at which time (like those offered by Project Gutenberg) anyone can access them.  Universities that have participated in the program also have some other rights to scans of books which they provided.  For example, HathiTrust allows full text searching of print books, so a researcher can identify books that might have a single chapter, or a few pages, on their topic as easily as if they were looking at its table of contents and index.

During the crisis, though, the HathiTrust has loosened access to universities that contributed to the repository.  Books can be ‘checked out’ (limited to the number of copies of any given text that the universities actually own) and accessed in full text online.  Checkouts typically last an hour, although they are automatically ‘renewed’ if you are still actively using the book, or you can ‘return’ it early.  There are two main ways to search for these books.

The first way is to go directly to the HathiTrust webpage, https://www.hathitrust.org/ – first, click the yellow ‘Log In’ button:

Then choose ‘Indiana University’ as your institution:

You have the option to search the full text of the books, or just the catalog info – title, author, publisher, subject headings, etc.  Use the catalog search if there is a specific book you’re looking for.  Use the full text search if you have a broader topic to explore.  In either case, keep the ‘Full view only’ box checked.  You will get a result list, like this:

Click on ‘Temporary Access’ of a book you would like to look at.  Then, click ‘Check Out’:

You will be taken into the full text of the book.  You can display the book in different ways with the controls on the right – one page at a time, for example, or two pages open like the physical book would be.  You can navigate through the book with the arrow buttons on the upper right, or search for a word or phrase in the book.  You can also jump forward quickly with the slider bar at the bottom, which shows you how deep you are into the book.  If you are finished or decide not to use the book, you can click ‘Return Early’, and it will immediately become available again to other people.  Otherwise, it will become available to others again after an hour.  Books available via temporary access can NOT be downloaded in full.

The second way is by searching IUCAT, the library’s catalog.  If you do, make sure you are searching ALL IU libraries, and not just IU East’s holdings, at https://iucat.iu.edu/ rather than http://iucat.iu.edu/iue – or if you are on the IU East-only screen, you can check the ‘All IUCAT’ box under the search blank to achieve the same effect.

When you identify a book that you are interested in, click on the title to see the full record.  If the book is accessible, it will have the HathiTrust’s orange elephant logo on the left side of the screen (‘hathi’ is the Hindi word for elephant).  Click on the elephant to open the book (you will be asked to log in with your IU username and passphrase, if you are not already).

If the elephant logo isn’t there, the book is not accessible through this program.  A little less than 48% of Indiana University’s holdings are included, so if the first book you click on isn’t available, don’t get discouraged and continue looking.

This special access to the HathiTrust will only last through the pandemic shutdowns.  As soon as libraries can access and loan their physical collections again, copyright regulations will require this temporary system to end.  But in the meantime, it is an invaluable way to obtain the knowledge in millions of books that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

If you need help navigating HathiTrust or finding any other materials you need, you can ask us at iueref@iue.edu!

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