Living Up to the Core Values

I’m going to field the second question asked for this week’s readings regarding the statement/evidence of HathiTrust’s core values.  Overall, I think that HathiTrust has done a good job of living up to their core values “community, scale, access/preservation, and openness.”  Their community is the group of academic libraries that have joined the trust.  I thought that it was smart to pair additional incentive to Universities to join and share their resources (in addition to having access to other institution’s resources) by offering free archiving services in exchange for open access to the works in HathiTrust.  Regarding scale, according to the website 72 academic institutions have joined the HathiTrust community and have approximately 10.6M volumes available (with approx. 3.3M available to the public).  To have so many big players (including UW-Madison!) invested in the consortium in such a short amount of time is both fantastic and heartening.  I think that the fact that Google-digitized volumes make the largest portion of content is interesting, and agree with a.d.m.n.’s thoughts that it is better to have a non-for-profit consortium have access/preserve materials vs. a for-profit entity that may or may not last.

Access/preservation – this, (for me at least), is the lynchpin that everything else within HathiTrust revolves around.  Preserving materials for posterity and making them accessible (both technology-wise and searchable – we don’t want to end up like the “Library of Babel”!) is integral to the future of all libraries (not just academic).   To this end, I think openness is a component of this relevant to the here and now.  I think that it is wonderful that institutions and individuals can change their view of the repository/services.  I have not played around with this feature, but am glad it is there.  Something I did peruse were the lawsuits and administrative operations, which York mentions in his article, “the partnership’s commitment to openness extends through all facets of its operations…this includes governance committee meeting minutes, detailed monthly reporting on activities and plans…and external audits.”  All in all, a very impressive start, I hope that something similar to this can be achieved in the same time-frame for public libraries!


4 responses to “Living Up to the Core Values

  1. I agree with your pointing out “openness” as a major component. I also like their offering collection customization as a sharing tool.

  2. I also think that they are smart to work with the universities. In John Wilkin’s presentation, I find that UW -Madison is on their list of partnership.

  3. hsikaiyang – what did you think of their public collection tool? I played around with it but other than the featured collections, I didn’t see too much value. Being able to see someone elses collection of interesting documents with an indecipherable collection name didn’t seem to be a good feature to me. There were some good collections in the bunch but there were also some one item collections that just had a username as a collection title. Mmmeyer3 brought up the library of babel aspect of having too much information to be useful, and I think that having good collections get lost in the crush of openness is edging closer toward that issue.

  4. mmmeyer3 – I was kind of dumbstruck by the openness on the HathiTrust website. They really are airing absolutely everything. In terms of fostering community and being a trusted entity, they’re doing a great job.

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