Monash University has joined HathiTrust (www.hathitrust.org), a global partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future.

HathiTrust holds the largest set of digitised books managed by the academic, research, and library community, which offers an unprecedented opportunity to steward the cultural record through increasingly interdependent work that develops capacity and sparks innovation.

Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership currently comprising more than one hundred forty-five members.

Over the last ten years, members have contributed more than 16.8 million volumes to the digital library, digitised from their library collections through a number of means including Google and Internet Archive digitisation and in-house initiatives.

More than 6.3 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available online. These records are also available in Monash Library Search.

University Librarian Bob Gerrity said joining HathiTrust enables the Monash community to not only access but also download complete digital texts of the public domain volumes held in other universities. Additionally, members of the Monash community who have visual impairments or other print disabilities are permitted full access to all 16.8 million volumes in HathiTrust.

“Through HathiTrust, Monash becomes a part of a global networked library, which will reduce the cost of access and make available a wide variety of material previously invisible to our users,” Mr Gerrity said.

“As we seek to preserve our own holdings, we will work to contribute our digitised content to this increasingly comprehensive digital library, while respecting copyright.

“We also look forward to providing researchers at Monash with access to the HathiTrust Research Centre, which provides a platform for computational analysis of the entire HathiTrust corpus,” Mr Gerrity said.

HathiTrust serves a dual role. First, as a trusted repository it guarantees the long-term preservation of the materials it holds, providing the expert curation and consistent access long associated with research libraries. Second, as a service for members and the public good, HathiTrust offers persistent access to the digital 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 digital collections of libraries in the United States and beyond. HathiTrust is funded by member libraries and governed by members of the libraries through its Board of Governors. More information on HathiTrust is available on their website.