HathiTrust Makes Text of Its Digital Library Searchable Through Summon Service

A new partnership between the HathiTrust Digital Library and a popular academic search service will bring the searchable text of the HathiTrust’s 8.4 million digital-volume collection to more than 200 institutions.

The arrangement will make the full text of all the titles in the HathiTrust collection searchable through Summon, a library search engine created by Serials Solutions, a subsidiary of ProQuest. The collection contains the digital content of more than 50 partner institutions.

Users will be able to access 2.2 million volumes of HathiTrust material in the public domain and their library’s own digital collection directly from the Summon page. For any texts available only in print, users will be told how to obtain them.

Being able to search all of the texts in the HathiTrust collection will make it easier for users to determine the value of a book or article directly from their Web browser, says John P. Wilkin, executive director of HathiTrust.

“You always want to have the materials that are relevant to the work of students and faculty in the flow of where they work,” he says.

The addition of the 2.2 million public-domain volumes should also have a big impact, Mr. Wilkin says.

The news of the partnership comes days after a federal judge rejected a settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers,  and the Authors Guild over Google’s plan to produce a huge digital repository of texts.

As noted previously, the work Google did scanning texts has already contributed to the HathiTrust’s digital collection.

Mr. Wilkin says the Google settlement would have allowed the HathiTrust to post short snippets of text along with the search results, but that the digital library will hold off on doing so for now as part of a “conservative approach to the materials.” The results for copyrighted materials will indicate only the page or pages of the volume on which the search term appears.

Summon is one of several search programs designed specifically for libraries, including the open-source VuFind, which was created at Villanova University.

Mr. Wilkin says he would be more than happy to bring the HathiTrust’s collection other search services, as well.

“We’re doggedly open in these sorts of things and nonexclusive,” he says.

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