Pandemic access to e-books via HathiTrust will end Aug. 16

  • White elephant design on orange background with Hathi Trust in lettering
July 30, 2021

One of Yale University Library’s key pandemic responses—expanding online access for millions of books and journals that were on the library’s shelves but unavailable to remote students and faculty—will end on Aug. 16. 

The HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) gave library users online access to digitized versions of about two million books and journals from Yale Library’s physical collections. The access was made possible by a negotiated agreement with HathiTrust that hinged on obstacles to circulating physical books and materials during the pandemic. Now, because most faculty, students, and staff will be on campus this fall, the barrier to access will no longer exist, ending the agreement.

HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries, including Yale Library, that has preserved more than 17 million digitized items and makes them accessible to readers to the fullest extent possible under copyright law.  

The HathiTrust ETAS links will be available in the Yale Library catalog and Quicksearch until August 16. At that point, the links will go away and the corresponding print books and journals will become available again for Yale users to check out in person or by mail. Direct links to digitized versions of three million collection items that are in the public domain will remain available. 

The option to have books mailed to home addresses in the U.S. or Canada was also introduced as a pandemic response and will continue through the coming year as a pilot project. Library users may click on the “Mail to home address” link in Orbis or Quicksearch to request home delivery. Book chapters and individual articles may be requested via Scan and Deliver.

Over the past year, Yale Library users accessed more than 39,000 individual items under ETAS. “For many faculty and students, this access to digitized resources was critical to their ability to continue their research and teaching during the pandemic,” said Daniel Dollar, associate university librarian for scholarly resources. 

The single most popular title—accessed by 193 unique users during the pandemic and renewed 113 times—was Major Problems in the History of American Medicine and Public Health: Documents and Essays, edited by John Harley Warner and Janet A. Tighe. 

Library staff are currently reviewing HathiTrust usage data for titles that can be purchased as e-books and for additional titles that can be opened for public domain access. However, a preliminary review found few titles available to the library for e-book purchase, Dollar said.

Library users are encouraged to reach out to a subject specialist librarian for assistance in identifying and securing library resources. More general questions may be addressed to Ask Yale Library via email or chat.