In a significant move, VCU Libraries joins respected HathiTrust, a vast digital library

April 4, 2017

In a significant step toward the cooperative preservation of cultural records, VCU Libraries is the newest member to join HathiTrust. This respected partnership of major academic and research libraries is building a vast digital library to preserve and ensure access to published works.

“HathiTrust is an exemplar in collaborative librarianship and one of our most significant acquisitions in recent memory,” said University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider. “This relationship provides VCU researchers with access to a growing trove of books in digital format from among the world’s most prestigious libraries.”

VCU users who login have additional, powerful options when accessing the more than 15 million volumes in HathiTrust. VCU users can create reading lists, save items and download full-text PDFs of many items. In the future, digitized volumes from VCU’s own unique collection will also be deposited into HathiTrust. Titles can be searched in the HathiTrust catalog or in VCU Libraries own search box.  

Start browsing today by logging in with your VCU eID and password

HathiTrust offers

--Searchable access to more than 15 million volumes, including some 7.4 million books, more than 700,000 federal government documents and 411,000 serial publications.

--5.7 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available on the Web.

--Full-text access to publications not always fully viewable in Google Books. These include


  • U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963 for which copyright was not renewed (170,000-plus and growing).
  • U.K. books published 1874-1944 and Canadian and Australian books published 1894-1964 for which copyright was not renewed (100,000-plus and growing).

Holdings cover all disciplines. Here are examples of just a few recently added items:

  • 1,000 manuscripts from the Islamic Manuscripts Collection at the University of Michigan;
  • 143 15th-century books from the Complutense University of Madrid;
  • 863 documents (legislation, court proceedings, records, correspondence) from the 13 original colonies, at the University of Pennsylvania;
  • 3,000 musical scores by female composers from the 19th- and early 20th-centuries from the University of Michigan Music Library;
  • Almost 200 volumes from the University Press of Florida, all full view.

HathiTrust provides enhanced access to digitized materials, including items still in copyright, for users with certified print disabilities. If you would like more information about gaining full access to this feature, please contact Rachel A. McCaskill (Monroe Park Campus) or Stephen Barkley (MCV Campus).

About HathiTrust

Considered in library and research circles as a model in shared governance and collaborative librarianship, HathiTrust launched in 2008. It now has more than 120 partners who have contributed millions of volumes from their own collections to the collective effort. In collecting these volumes, HathiTrust serves a dual role. First, as a trusted repository it guarantees the long-term preservation of the materials it holds. Second, as a service for partners and a public good, HathiTrust offers persistent access to the digital collections. This includes viewing, downloading, searching and saving public domain volumes and those belonging to a user’s institution.

HathiTrust was named for the Hindi word for elephant, hathi, symbolic of the qualities of memory, wisdom and strength, as well as the huge undertaking of congregating the digital collections of libraries in the United States and beyond.

HathiTrust is funded by the partner libraries and governed by members of the libraries through its Board of Governors. More information on HathiTrust is available on its website.

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