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Introducing HathiTrust Digital Collection Principles

March 11, 2022

The scale and the worldwide reach of HathiTrust requires us to recognize how we are shaped by history and how we can address larger challenges through our work.  When we adopted our HathiTrust 2019-2023 Strategic Directions, we noted that we would  “responsibly steward our collections and resources on behalf of HathiTrust member libraries;” “deepen and add breadth to the HathiTrust collections, guided by a targeted, intentional strategy for new and retrospective publications;” and “include many voices and perspectives in our collections.” We are pleased to introduce the HathiTrust Digital Collection Principles, a framework for future collection building consistent with these commitments.

The Collection Principles will lead us beyond our origins in mass digitization towards deliberate collection building and management essential for our 200+ members and the public that uses HathiTrust.  They envision a collection that, at its core, continues to focus on preservation and access for research, scholarship, and learning, and also helps our libraries collectively manage the scholarly and cultural record.  The principles recognize, and newly articulate, needs and opportunities in how we conduct our stewardship now and into the future. Based on these principles, we will orient our collections work toward justice, equity, and wide representation, and toward resilience in response to the changing economic, social, and environmental conditions in which we all work. 

Executive Director, Mike Furlough, says, “HathiTrust emerged out of large-scale mass digitization programs, which have sourced the majority of our collection.  As we enter our fifteenth year, it is time for us to begin taking a more active curatorial role in building the collection for future scholarship, and do so with a recognition that this scholarship will be shaped by a range of dynamic forces in the coming years.”

The Digital Collection Principles are the result of thoughtful, collaborative work by a number of people, including Heather Christenson, HathiTrust Collections & Access Lead and Program Officer and the HathiTrust Digital Collections Strategy Working Group, other HathiTrust staff. The Program Steering Committee also offered important insights as it was developed, before it was finally reviewed by the Board of Governors.  


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