Stewart named chairman-elect of HathiTrust’s board of directors | Nebraska today


Claire Stewart, Dean of University Libraries, has been named President-Elect of the Board of Governors of HathiTrust.

HathiTrust is one of the largest and most successful digital library projects today with over 17 million digitized books. HathiTrust was founded jointly by Big Ten Libraries (then the Committee on Institutional Cooperation) and the University of California system. It was created primarily to ensure that universities have their own copies of all books scanned by Google and the Internet Archive.

“HathiTrust is an incredibly optimistic and forward-thinking organization for preserving digital materials and preparing for technology we can’t even conceive yet,” said Stewart. “The organization needs to have champions who believe in its work and are willing to devote their time and effort to helping build the future. That’s why I wanted to sit on the board.

The selection, announced on August 18, is effective immediately. Stewart will serve on the executive committee of the board of directors until December 2022. In 2023, she will be chair of the board of directors and past president in 2024. Stewart joined the board of directors as a representative of the Big Ten Conference .

According to Stewart, HathiTrust has launched several innovative projects among its members, including the multi-agency project to verify the copyright status of books published after 1923 and suspected of being in the public domain. Books published in the we before 1923 are already in the public domain and freely accessible through HathiTrust to anyone in the world who wishes to read them.

Verifying each individual book suspected of being in the public domain is an extremely laborious process, but the project has had a high success rate. A boon to libraries, academics, and scholarships has been the addition of a large number of recently released titles for full-text viewing in HathiTrust’s database: 900,000 have been reviewed and over 509,000 are in the public domain.

“The University of Nebraska could not do such a project on its own,” said Stewart. “Our modest investment, as a member of HathiTrust, has given the university a huge return on investment.”

Another groundbreaking initiative has taken place due to the pandemic and the disruption it has caused in academic institutions and their libraries across the country. HathiTrust has helped advocate for expanding online access to its extensive digital library using a ‘plug-and-play’ digital access mechanism known as Access Services temporary emergency, resulting in a vast explosion of access.

University libraries, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, compared their book collections to the HathiTrust collection, which allowed these titles to be accessible online even though the books were still protected by copyright. Nebraska faculty and students had access to nearly 50% of the college library collection through this service from April 2020 to July 2021.

“What I love most about HathiTrust is that it is a great example of how libraries are committed to the long term and envision the long term to create a better future for them. academics, ”said Stewart.

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