May 28, 2022

Learn About Two New HathiTrust Groups: Print Monographs Archive Planning Task Force and Rights & Access Working Group.

Details about the new HathiTrust Print Monographs Archive Task Force and the HathiTrust Rights & Access Working Group follow.

HathiTrust Print Monographs Archive Task Force

With the advent of HathiTrust—a community-supported repository of digitized texts —the opportunity exists for our institutions to not only work together to profoundly influence the landscape in which we provide access to cultural resources but to profoundly influence the mechanisms by which we ensure persistence of the printed record.

The HathiTrust Print Monographs Archive project seeks to advance this effort by developing and implementing a new paradigm by which research libraries and other academic libraries can develop shared reliance on a scholarly print record that is collaboratively stewarded and supported as a public good.

Reporting to the HathiTrust Program Steering Committee, the Print Monographs Archive Planning Task Force is charged to develop plans for a Distributed Print Monographs Archive on behalf of HathiTrust, including the requisite policies, operational plans, and business model.

Learn More About the Print Monographs Archive Planning Task Force


Rights & Access Working Group

There are ongoing initiatives to broaden access to materials held by HathiTrust such as the Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) project, as well as arranged partnerships with publishers who have opened content through HathiTrust.  HathiTrust also works with individual rights holders to open access to content within the repository on a case-by-case basis.

The Rights and Access Working Group will help to develop a consistent strategy across both types of activities.

The CRMS project has, through two successful IMLS awards, engaged staff at 17 Hathi partner institutions to undertake systematic copyright determinations for works published in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  Over 360,000 titles have been reviewed, and approximately 200,000 of these titles have been opened.   Current plans are to seek funding to extend the review process to include non-English works.  New languages and serials may require pilot projects to adjust for differences in copyright laws.  To date CRMS has been largely driven by the IMLS grants, but HathiTrust has committed $50,000 to support the development of a sustainability plan for the CRMS.

HathiTrust has worked directly with publishers and individuals to open access to works.  We have a fairly simple method for rights holders to volunteer titles they wish to be opened, but no significant outreach or marketing of this voluntary avenue.   Several publishers, including the university presses of Michigan, Utah State, and Duke have agreed, at least in principle, to open backlist titles through HathiTrust.  We have very recently secured an agreement with Knowledge Unlatched that will include preservation and access of open access university press titles published as a part of that initiative.  Given the number of in-copyright works scanned by Google, as well as Google’s partnerships with publishers as part of Google Books, there are likely significant sets of content that the membership would like to see Hathi pursue with their owners.

There are some challenges to working with publishers and rights holders, however.  First, the lawsuits around the Book Project have not been resolved, and for some publishers there may be a lingering mistrust of the motives or approaches of Hathi.  For those who are willing to work with Hathi, the degree of openness to which they will commit may vary.  For instance, the University of Michigan press permits only page-at-a-time access, not entire chapter or title level access. In spite of the signed agreement with Google and Hathi, Duke University Press has not yet opened any backlist titles, in part because of third party rights issues.

Read the Full Text of the Rights & Access Working Group Charge

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.