Available Indexes

Membership Eligibility

Updated February 2020

Eligibility is the first and primary factor in determining HathiTrust membership. For more details on other requirements, costs, and an overview of the joining process, see How to Join. For general information about HathiTrust membership, contact support@hathitrust.org

Who is eligible for HathiTrust Membership?

HathiTrust currently accepts members from each of the three categories as defined below.

  • Academic and research institutions (government and specialized institutions may be considered)

  • University systems of libraries

  • Consortia of libraries

Academic and Research Institutions: Not-for-profit organizations, such as universities, colleges, museums, research centers, and agencies that operate one or more libraries. Examples: University of Pennsylvania, Getty Research Institute, New York Public Library, Library of Congress.

University Systems: Multi-institution, not-for-profit higher education systems, operating one or more libraries. The organization consolidates the communication and transactions between the organization’s members and HathiTrust, thus offering a single point of contact between the organization and HathiTrust to handle fees and holdings data. Examples:  University of Texas System, State University System of Florida. This option is available only to U.S. higher education systems.

HathiTrust expects the following of its system members:

  • The system, through a service organization or a lead institution, handles all invoicing on behalf of the entire system, and supports unified provision of libraries’ holdings data and collection deposits to HathiTrust.

  • Member institutions of the system organization are treated as a single entity in governance and voting.

  • Systems with more than one institution classified as Carnegie R1 will pay a public domain fee for each R1 institution, tiered according to its total library expenditures. For systems without an R1 institution, the member will pay a public domain fee based on the system’s assignment to a tier that corresponds with the sum total expenditures of all institutions in the system. In-copyright fees are assessed for the entire system.

  • Some university systems may operate a single identity provider for all of their campuses. As currently there is no approved standard Shibboleth attribute to carry specific campus-within-a-system affiliation information, it is not possible for HathiTrust to limit member-only access to a specific subset of locations in the system. In such cases, HathiTrust is unable to accept single campus or partial system membership and instead must consider the entire system to be a member, request that the system coordinate provision of data and collection deposits, and assess fees as described above.

Consortia: Multi-institution, not-for-profit consortia that operate services (beyond licensing) on behalf of member libraries. At a minimum, a consortium wishing to become a member of HathiTrust needs to be able to legally sign a HathiTrust member agreement on behalf of all the consortium’s participant members, provide HathiTrust with consolidated holdings data, and verify the full participation of all members, in a manner similar to that of state university systems.

Given the variability in configurations and governance of consortia, HathiTrust evaluates inquiries from consortia on a case-by-case basis, and the Board of Governors has responsibility for final review and approval of a consortium’s membership in HathiTrust.

Who is not eligible for HathiTrust Membership?

HathiTrust does NOT consider membership from:

  • Libraries associated with for-profit organizations

  • Public libraries without a clear research mission

  • Public or private K-12 or secondary school libraries

  • Non-libraries, including publishers

  • Individuals

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