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Harvard Library Joins HathiTrust

February 3, 2011—The Harvard Library has joined HathiTrust, a shared digital repository for published materials that is co-owned and co-managed by the academic and public libraries who are the Trust's 52 partners.

Helen Shenton, executive director of the Harvard Library, praised HathiTrust's vision and heralded Harvard's affiliation with it: "This is a highly significant new collaboration that reflects the changing landscape for research libraries everywhere. HathiTrust's mission embodies the spirit and the substance of Harvard's rapidly evolving library system."

HathiTrust was formed in 2008, with infrastructure located at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. The mission of HathiTrust is to "contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge." Currently, the shared repository contains more than 7.9 million digitized volumes in 355 terabytes of storage.

The Harvard Library, founded in 1638, is the oldest academic library in North America and is ranked among the five great libraries of the world. With nearly 17 million books, plus journals, e-resources, primary source material, images, audio, video, and more, Harvard's renowned library holdings span a vast range of subjects, languages, and dates.

By joining with peer institutions in HathiTrust, Harvard adds a new dimension to a well-established digital preservation program, the centerpiece of which is the Digital Repository Service (DRS). Developed in 2000 through the University's multi-year Library Digital Initiative, DRS is one of the foremost digital repositories in the world, containing nearly 21 million files representing a broad range of traditional and born-digital formats. Together, these materials represent 120 terabytes of storage. Selected files in Harvard's DRS will also be held in the HathiTrust respository.

"Harvard's move to join HathiTrust was championed by Roy E. Larsen Librarian Nancy Cline through her chairmanship of the LIWG Subgroup on External Collaborations. In the Office for Information Systems, Tracey Robinson and Andrea Goethals provided detailed analysis on various scenarios for the collaboration, which resulted in the present agreement.

"We are most grateful for their leadership in making this collaborative endeavor a reality," said Helen Shenton.

By affiliating with HathiTrust, Harvard gains more than new strengths in digital preservation. HathiTrust offers new access and discovery points for users and provides a significant new service, affording users the opportunity to create virtual collections.

According to the HathiTrust web site, Hathi (pronounced hah-tee) is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal highly regarded for its memory, wisdom, and strength. Trust is a core value of research libraries and one of their greatest assets. In combination, the words convey the key benefits researchers can expect from a first-of-its-kind shared digital repository.


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