The mission of HathiTrust is to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.

In this effort our goals are:
  • To build a reliable and increasingly comprehensive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by a number of academic institutions.
  • To dramatically improve access to these materials in ways that, first and foremost, meet the needs of the co-owning institutions.
  • To help preserve these important human records by creating reliable and accessible electronic representations.
  • To stimulate redoubled efforts to coordinate shared storage strategies among libraries, thus reducing long-term capital and operating costs of libraries associated with the storage and care of print collections.
  • To create and sustain this “public good” in a way that mitigates the problem of free-riders.
  • To create a technical framework that is simultaneously responsive to members through the centralized creation of functionality and sufficiently open to the creation of tools and services not created by the central organization.Additionally, the partners have specified a set of short- and long-term Functional Objectives.

HathiTrust began in 2008 in order to build a digital archive that would provide access and preservation services for library materials digitized from its partners’ collections by Google, the Internet Archive (IA) and Microsoft. The founding institutions include the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system, and the University of Virginia.

Since 2008 HT has expanded to include digitized collections beyond the original print content digitized by Google, IA and Microsoft. In HT’s first three years, the partnership has grown to a current total of 52 individual libraries. As of June 2011, the HT database had 4,794,000 book titles and 213,000 serial titles for a total of 8,793,500 volumes. Of those, 1,233,000 titles (2,398,500 volumes) or approximately 27% of the total were in the public domain.

From its start, a goal of the HT was to reduce the long-term costs of these services through the implementation of a shared, large-scale storage infrastructure. Additionally, the archive was designed as an open, collaborative development environment for partners to improve existing, and develop new, access and collection services.

Features and benefits of membership are outlined in this document.