January 24, 2022

An In-Depth Interview: "Unlocking HathiTrust: Inside the Librarians' Digital Library"

Many questions about what HathiTrust does, how they do it, and how some use it, etc. they’re very likely going to be answered in this 2800 word interview published by Library Journal.

Title: “Unlocking HathiTrust: Inside the Librarians’ Digital Library”

An Interview by Char Booth, Instruction Services Manager & E-Learning Librarian at the Claremont Colleges Library.
Blog: Infomational.com
Tweets: @charbooth

Author: Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning and Informing Innovation.

Booth Talks To:

Heather Christenson***, Mass Digitization Project Manager and HathiTrust Project Manager at the California Digital Library (CDL).


Paul Fogel,  the technical lead for mass digitization and the co-technical lead for the HathiTrust at the University of California’s California Digital Library (CDL).

In the Intro Char Booth Writes:

The more I communicated with HathiTrust, the more I realized that they are a surprisingly small group of library-minded folks doing a herculean job not only participating in mass digitization projects with Google and the Internet Archive, but building a new, large-scale digital library with its own features and services. Enter the inspiration for this follow-up interview: to correct my (and others’) misperceptions about this important and emerging librarians’ digital library.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • The Name HathiTrust
  • History of the Project
  • June, 2011 Collection Statistics
  • How Can Use HathiTrust?
  • How Can It Be Used?
  • How is HathiTrust Different Than Projects From Google Books? Internet Archive?
  • What is HathiTrust Doing to Make More Material Open?
  • Technical Issues Including Full Text Search
  • Quality Control of Scanned Materials
  • Metadata


  1. “HathiTrust by the Numbers”
  2. “Content Growth”

A Few Extra Links

1. Cool Visualizations of HT Collection (Updated Daily)

Finally, all of the visualization are clickable and can be used to begin a search.

2. Give the HathiTrust Prototype For WorldCat Local a Go

3. List of Partners
Boston U. is the latest partner and is not yet on the list.

4. Projects
Including HathiTrust Metadata Management System (University of California) and Minnesota Digital Library Image Preservation Prototype Project

5. Search Help
Including How to Use HathiTrust Collection Builder

*** See Also: Here’s an Article Excellent Article About HathiTrust that Heather Christenson Authored:
“HathiTrust: A Research Library at Web Scale”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.