HathiTrust Provides Emergency Temporary Access to Help Increase Access to Collections While Physical Library Spaces are Closed

April 9, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has put the physical collections of many research libraries, including at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, temporarily out of reach. On April 1, additional digital copies of items in our collection became available online, including copyright-protected materials. Access is open to authenticated UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff members. This Emergency Temporary Access Service is available to all HathiTrust members.

The move by HathiTrust to provide increased access shows how so many organizations are coming together to support our communities and find solutions during this time. 

The HathiTrust website offers information about how to use the service and provides details about the terms. Our website has additional information about how to use the service through our catalog.

The main features of the emergency access include:

  • Continued access to the physical scholarly record – our print collection – via digital copies in HathiTrust.
  • Reading access to books online, within a web browser (no full downloads).
  • Ability to “check out” a copy for a limited time with an auto-renew feature for books still in use. Access to items is 1-1. For example, if we have two copies in our collection, two UW-Madison authenticated users (faculty, staff, students) will be allowed concurrent access to the digital item in HathiTrust.

We have been working to make it easier to discover these materials through the Libraries’ catalog. HathiTrust estimates 41.5% of UW-Madison’s print holdings are available in digital form through this service. Learn more about accessing HathiTrust digital copies through our library catalog, which you can reach through our website: www.library.wisc.edu. Access will remain in place as long as our buildings are closed and print collections are inaccessible.

The Libraries recognize this unique situation requires significant collaboration to ensure valued research and instruction can continue. We are happy to partner to provide a pathway to make this a possibility. 

UW-Madison, along with the BTAA, is among the founding members of the HathiTrust Digital Library.