1.2 million additional electronic resources, many of which you can access full text in one click, will soon be searchable right through the Dominican catalog. How is this possible? A group of over 60 research libraries formed a collective for digitizing books that are out of copyright or otherwise in the public domain (like government documents). This is known as the HathiTrust (hathi is the Hindi word for “elephant”) and relies on books digitized by the Google Books project and other sources. These books have been available for some time through the I-Share catalog, but we wanted to make it easier to get you the electronic content you need for research. This means that you will see many of these records that you haven’t seen before when searching the catalog–in some cases they may be the majority of titles in your search.
Changing your search
You may want to search only books physically available in the library or otherwise owned by Dominican in your search. In this case, you have two choices. After you’ve completed your search, you can click on any of the location links in the side bar to limit to Dominican locations. “Main Collection” will give you books physically available in the library, “Electronic Resources” will give you electronic books owned by Dominican–which will be new books still under copyright.
If you know before you start your search that you want to exclude HathiTrust books, select Advanced Search from the home page of the library website. Type in your search, and scroll to the bottom and select “Exclude HathiTrust eResources”.
Getting the full text
As with any electronic resource you access through the library catalog, you can scroll down to the item information to get the link to the content. Click on HathiTrust Digital Library to link to the content.
Once you’re in there, you can search for the exact content you want, or flip through the pages. You can download a page at a time. You won’t be able to download the whole book from HathiTrust, but since many of the books are also in Google Books you can download it from there.
Here’s the catch: due to contractual issues beyond our control, HathiTrust doesn’t always link directly to the Google Books version. Wherever possible, the library catalog itself will link you to the Google Books version, or you can search Google Books directly.
Why you might want to use this
You might be asking yourself: “Why not just search Google Books directly? Why does the library link me to Google resources? Why should I bother?”
First, you get the advantage of library cataloging in searching for appropriate books for your research, which is more thorough and aimed at the type of academic research you are doing. (Of course, many of these books were published before 1923, and so not appropriate for some types of research.) Second, the HathiTrust platform itself is much easier to use and navigate through books than the Google Books platform. Lastly, the HathiTrust is only concerned with making information more accessible to researchers. Unlike Google, it’s not trying to sell you anything and you can feel very confident that your research remains confidential.
We consider the addition of these records into our catalog an experiment for the fall 2012 semester. We will see how it goes and consider if this is meeting the needs of the Dominican community. We welcome your comments and questions. You can leave us a comment in our comment box, or get in touch with a reference librarian by phone or chat.