This blog is the first in a new series from the Gottesman Libraries on Open Access resources. Today’s blog focuses on the HathiTrust Digital Library and the Internet Archive Digital Library of Free and Borrowable Books. Hands-on examples are included.
Open Access, according to Columbia’s Office of Scholarly and Communication Publishing, is online content, freely accessible, that has relatively few or no restrictions on reuse. This past year’s remote work environment worldwide has put a spotlight on the need for increased access to electronic resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to books that many of us may have relied upon, previously, in print. The disruption has been costly. Acquiring new digital resources comes at a financial cost. Impeded access to in-print books presents an opportunity cost. Open Access has mitigated these obstacles to resource acquisition.
The HathiTrust Digital Library (https://www.hathitrust.org/) provides access to over 17 million digitized items. It was started in 2008 to archive and share the digitized collections of its member libraries and institutions with the faculty, staff, and students of those communities. Since its establishment, HathiTrust has advanced its missions and goals through a variety of services and programs. While members of partner institutions such as Columbia University get access to the largest number of volumes, the materials in HathiTrust are available to everyone, whenever permitted by law and contract.
The Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free and Borrowable Books (https://archive.org/) was started in 1996 as a web archive. It now has 25 years of web history through its Wayback Machine. In 2005, the Internet Archive began a program to digitize books. Today, it scans one thousand books daily, adding to its current collection of 2.3 million modern ebooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free Internet Archive account. Some of these ebooks are out-of-copyright volumes. The rest are in-copyright volumes physically owned either by the Internet Archive or by another library. They are lent out as ebooks to one user at a time through the Internet Library’s Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) service. As explained in a 2019 blog by Brewster Kahle, the founder and chairman of the Internet Archive, many books published in the 20th century are neither available online, nor available in print, from most commercial booksellers. By helping libraries digitize books in their collections, and then enabling the libraries who own a physical copy to lend those books in digital form through Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the service helps libraries provide ebooks to their patrons simply and cost-efficiently. This effort is not without controversy. See the Gottesman Libraries’ 2020 blog on CDL for some interesting background.
Patrons searching online for a book in the collections of Teachers College and Columbia University may already be accustomed to seeing a link to the HathiTrust Log in for temporary access among the results when performing a CLIO Quicksearch. Clicking that link connects the patron to HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS). This temporary access to digitized books remains in place while normal access to physical books is disrupted. Thanks to ETAS, patrons of an authorized member library such as Columbia may obtain access to digitized items in the HathiTrust that correspond to books that Columbia holds in print.
To see how HathiTrust works, let’s search online for a book chapter in digital format that a Teachers College professor actually requested for course reserves this past semester. Here is the citation:
Darder, A. (1993). How does the culture of the teacher shape the classroom experience of Latino students?: The unexamined question in critical pedagogy. In S. Rothstein (ed.), Handbook of Schooling in Urban America (pp.195-221). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
We start by searching TC’s online catalog using Super Search. The item is available in the Teachers College collection in print, but not as an ebook. We then search the Columbia catalog using CLIO Quicksearch. The item is available in a digital format through HathiTrust’s ETAS. You may follow the steps in the example, below, to search for and locate the item. Note that a UNI and password are required. For additional assistance, you may email email@example.com.
Step 1: Enter the title, Handbook of Schooling in Urban America, in the TC Super Search search bar; select an item from among the results
Step 2: The item is available in print, but not as an ebook, in the Teachers College collection, https://educat.tc.columbia.edu/record=b1151640
Step 3: Enter the title in the Columbia catalog CLIO Quicksearch search bar; select an item from among the results
Step 4: The item is available in print in the Columbia collection, https://clio.columbia.edu/catalog/SCSB-2000522?counter=1. The item is available in a digital format through HathiTrust’s ETAS. Click HathiTrust Log in for temporary access, at bottom right
Step 5: Click CHECK OUT at top right to borrow for one hour
Step 6: This work is checked out for the next hour and may automatically renew. Click Return Early at the top left when done
To learn first-hand how it works to borrow from the Internet Archive, let’s again search for Handbook of Schooling in Urban America (1993), the book that a Teachers College professor requested for course reserves this past semester. Start by entering the title in the Internet Archive search bar. This item is available. Use the Internet Archive links, below, and follow the steps to locate the item.
Step 2: Select an item from among the results https://archive.org/search.php?query=Handbook%20of%20Schooling%20in%20Urban%20America
Step 3: Check the dropdown at Borrow for 1 hour. The item may be renewable by the hour and/or it may be possible to borrow this copy for 14 days. First-time users must sign up for a free account (email address / password are required)
Step 4: This work is checked out for the next hour. This item may not be downloaded. You may click Return now when you are done reading
The HathiTrust Digital Library, and the Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free and Borrowable Books are two valuable Open Access sources of online materials to bookmark and regularly consult for expanded access to digital resources!