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Snapshot of the HathiTrust Collection at 10 Years

10 Years of the HathiTrust Digital Libary

October 13, 2018

On the occasion of our 10th anniversary we take this opportunity to reflect on our unprecedented digital collection. The enormous size and rich scope of our collection represents hundreds of years of library investment in collection-building and stewardship. Thank you to all of our member libraries!

If you’ve been a user of HathiTrust Digital Library over the past ten years, no doubt you’ve noticed the availability of new items and growth of our collection over time. You’ve probably also seen some of the information that we share about the collection here on the Statistics and Visualizations section of our web site, and via presentations, twitter and other venues. The following is a quick look at some of the dimensions of our collection, as it stands in 2018.

Content Providers 2008 - October 2018, Percentages

We’ve grown from a foundation of several contributors, to over 60 member institutions contributing digitized items.

Publication Dates of Works in HathiTrust

Our digital collection holds works published from the 1500s to the 2010s.

The HathiTrust collection includes rare and fragile works. Some special collections hold items that are the only copy in the world. Often these works can be so fragile that they cannot be handled by patrons. This work which has crumbling pages and is from the 6th century is just such an item. Instead of being locked up in a collection that only the occasional visitor can access, this work can now be viewed by anyone anywhere.

Printed book page in Coptic with torn sections

[Psalter], 6th cen.

Although our collection is strong in 20thcentury works, HathiTrust also contains more recent works such as this 2017 exploration of the “use of the ebay marketplace as an exhibition platform.”

Languages, 2008 - October 2018

Over 400 languages can be found within HathiTrust.

Highlight: Portuguese

At 1.27% of the corpus, Portuguese is the 9th most prevalent language in HathiTrust. Our Portuguese language collection has grown from 12,735 volumes in 2008 to 208,277 volumes in 2018.

Many issues of the magazine Illustração Portugueza, featuring literature, arts, and photography, were contributed by the University of California.

Newspaper page in Portuguese with photo of group of bullfighters dressed for bullfighting.
Illustração portugueza. ser. 2 no. 411-436 1914.

U.S. Federal Documents

This chart represents the number of digitized items in our HathiTrust federal documents collection - both full and limited view.

HathiTrust contains 521,664 bibliographic records for US Federal Documents including 1,286,418 separate digital objects for 1,099,278 unique items. 489,795 of these bibliographic records represent monographs, and 31,436 represent serial titles. Over 50 institutions have contributed to our federal documents collection. More information on our U.S. Federal Documents Program

Highlight: Workset in the HathiTrust Research Center

A number of words in multiple sizes and colors. Largest size words are  nuclear, response, plant, power, system, and seismic

Tag Cloud of the workset "Nuclear California"

This visual representation of a collection including government publications was generated using one of the HathiTrust Research Center's data analytics tools.

Subjects in the HathiTrust Collection

The full range of subjects in HathiTrust is so broad that the application of new modes of analysis for deep understanding will be our work for years to come. Our aggregate collection reflects facets of the print collection of every contributor. Below are a few subject-focused highlights that illustrate both the broad range of works found in HathiTrust in 2018 and how our collection has grown since 2008. (A regular feature of the HathiTrust web site is our browsable list of subjects.)

Highlight: Growth of the Music Collection

Library of Congress Classifications have been applied to most of the collection. Our music collection, consisting of music (M), music literature (ML), and music instruction (MT) has grown from 9,255 in 2008 to more than 110,000 in 2018, with the range of contributors growing as well.

This 1904 publication of the opera Die Fledermaus, complete with artwork, was contributed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Highlight: Environmental Science

Environmental Science is a relatively narrower area of the HathiTrust collection.

An example is this open access dissertation on The Hydrologic Evolution of Glacial Meltwater contributed by the University of Michigan.

Highlight: Agriculture

HathiTrust has many land-grant University libraries as partners, and Agriculture is a collection strength, with over 187,000 volumes classified as general agriculture (S), horticulture (SB), forestry (SD), animal husbandry (SF), and aquaculture (SH).

This illustration is from a work contributed by the University of Minnesota.

Highlight: Classics

HathiTrust partner libraries have built collections over time to support scholarship in Classics, and our digital collection is growing. The data below is drawn from materials classified as Greek/Latin language and literature (PA) along with the history of Italy (DG), Greece (DF), and the Greco-Roman World (DE).

This volume from 1522 and contributed by the University of California, shows the annotations of an early scholar.

A Collaborative Endeavor

As we look ahead to a more expansive and diverse digital collection with more contributors joining the effort, we thank everyone who has contributed to building the HathiTrust collection, including those who have managed the print collection over time, all those who accomplished digitization, and leaders who had the vision of a digital collection that has now become reality. We look forward to many more years of building a collection and services that contribute to research, scholarship, and the common good.


HathiTrust staff members Heather Christenson, Valerie Glenn, Natalie Fulkerson, Jessica Rohr, Josh Steverman, and Ange Zaytsev contributed to this report.

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